Thomas Brownfields Project

Thomas Brownfields Assessment Project Objective

The community-wide brownfield assessment grant project's primary program objective is to assess select properties within the City of Thomas with known or potential hazardous substances contamination with the intent of preparing these properties for redevelopment and reintroduction into productive markets. Sites that have the highest likelihood for successful redevelopment with a focus on Thomas's historic commercial downtown and economic reuse will be targeted. These efforts align with local strategic plans, including the 2013 Thomas Riverfront Park Development Plan and the 2002 City of Thomas Strategic Plan update.

Upon completion of assessment and possible remediation activities, Thomas will proceed with its redevelopment plans for the riverfront and other historic downtown properties. An updated strategic plan for the city of Thomas in 2002 showcases the Riverfront Park as the city's potential feature attraction that would transform Thomas into a greater destination town.

The environmental outcome of this project is the assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of several key historic commercial downtown properties in the City of Thomas, including the Riverfront Park Property. This outcome will also result in the prevention of current and future human exposure to harmful contaminants, reduced stormwater and stream bank erosion, river habitat restoration, and community health benefits related to additional public greenspace.

The City and New Historic Thomas (NHT) are not only focusing on the park, but also on redeveloping and beautifying the whole downtown area by updating its inventory of vacant and dilapidated buildings, finding assistance for property owners to address these properties, and addressing infrastructure needs and community services to ensure that Thomas attracts permanent residents as well as tourists. The backbone of Thomas is its historic, walkable, riverfront downtown. There has been progress in restoring many of its storefronts with private, state, and federal funds. The City is gaining a new identity as it is beginning fill with unique small businesses. In addition to solving a well-recognized need for parking, the plan will beautify the downtown and riverfront and connect recreational amenities to the business district. Business creation and retention will greatly benefit from the redevelopment of the riverfront to provide recreational and logistical amenities to compliment the business district.

The Thomas City Council and NHT have targeted the specific sites for assessment because of their high development potential and probable contamination. These sites will be reviewed through a public deliberation process in order to gather community support, input, and momentum. Additional sites will be added based on site identification and prioritization. Site access has been resolved for many of the currently-identified sites through ongoing engagement with property owners during previous redevelopment planning activities. This includes the high priority riverfront property and downtown commercial properties.

Properties will be prioritized with input from local economic and community development organizations and the community utilizing the following criteria: 1) properties within city limits; 2) importance to Thomas's strategic plan ; 3) probability that development will occur; 4) accessibility and visibility to main traffic patterns; 5) potential for impact on the city and county; 6) possibility of green space creation and linkages; and 6) potential for future new options and updates to housing and commercial space. Additional criteria will be included as identified.