City officials may have found a source of funding to assist the city in the demolition of the Sands Dorsey building, said Tucumcari City Manager Bobbye Rose.
“We are excited that we are finally making progress on this issue,” said Rose.
Rose said the money to dispose of the hazardous debris in the burnt remains of the building may be available through the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA’s Brownfields Program supports the cleanup and revitalization of brownfields in local communities.
The EPA defines a brownfield as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.”
Rose said the city is applying for the Target Brownfields Assessment (TBA), which is a service the EPA provides to communities to support their brownfield projects.
Rose said the program would fund a portion of the Sands Dorsey remediation.
“If we meet the requirements, they will cover the cost of removal for the hazardous material,” Rose said. “We would still need to dispose of the other material, though the cost of that would be lower than projected with the hazardous debris.”
EPA/NMED officials will conduct an environmental assessment at the site.
“They will determine what is the best course of action to remove the hazardous material from the building,” Rose said.
Public entities such as city and county can request EPA TBA services. The Sands Dorsey is a privately owned site, but is still eligible for the program. The EPA will allow a privately owned site to become a candidate for the program if the redevelopment will result in significant benefits to the general public.
In order for the building to be eligible, the land owner, Bob Hengstenberg, must sign a site access consent agreement for TBA services to be provided.
“We have already completed the first step, which was to get Bob Hengstenberg to agree to the assessment,” Rose said.
The Sands Dorsey building has been blocked off since it caught fire in June 2007. Pajarito Interiors shares a wall with the Sands Dorsey building. Owner Ruth Nelson has expressed her concern to city commissioners on the state of the building and the effect it is having on hers and other town businesses.
“I am happy to hear the city has taken steps to finally resolve this issue,” Nelson said. “It is shame, though, it has taken so many years to get something done.”
Rose said the funding could also be available for other hazardous/vacant buildings in the city.
“We urge people to contact the city to suggest building which may be eligible for this funding,” Rose said.