FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 5, 2018) – Botanica, Inc., a nonprofit in Louisville, will receive a $390,000 partially forgivable loan from the Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program’s Cleaner Commonwealth Fund. Botanica Inc. will utilize the funds to help transform a former city dump into a state-of-the-art botanical garden. This is the first loan made from the Cleaner Commonwealth Fund since it was established in 2013.
The former Ohio Street dump was a construction and demolition landfill that has been capped and vacant for many years. Because of its location, the site was considered ideal for Botanica Inc. to construct the Waterfront Botanical Gardens.
The Cleaner Commonwealth Fund loan will assist with the managed reuse of the property. Botanica Inc. will use the money to manage potentially contaminated fill dirt on site and install clean fill/barriers, where needed, to protect those using the gardens from exposure to potential contamination.
When successfully completed, the program will forgive $90,000 of the $390,000 loan. The remainder, financed over a 15-year period, qualifies for 0 percent interest.
Waterfront Botanical Gardens will provide employment opportunities both during construction and after the opening of the facility, as well as serve as a local attraction that compliments Waterfront Park, Slugger Field and the future soccer complex.
As an added benefit, the gardens will provide more green space for children and adults. It will also promote healthy eating and living by providing an edibles garden for children to learn about the benefits of local produce.
The property was designated a brownfield and eligible for the program because of its contamination and the perceived complexity of working with the cap.
The Cleaner Commonwealth Fund, administered through the Division of Compliance Assistance, provides financial assistance for projects that clean up brownfield sites, including old factories, former gas stations and other properties that are abandoned or underutilized due to environmental contamination. It is a grant-and-loan fund established with an $850,000 EPA Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund grant.