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Clean-up continues at Porter site

Leveraging a nearly $1 million federal grant, the City of Huntington continues to be committed to clean up the approximately 12-acre H.K. Porter industrial site and make plans for its future redevelopment. On May 25, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a Brownfields Cleanup Grant Award of $991,000 to support the city’s efforts to remediate the contaminated site, demolish the remaining structures and create a community plan for the property’s eventual reuse. “Ten years ago, the City of Huntington embarked on cleaning up 90 years’ worth of pollution from the H.K. Porter site on the east end of the city. We are grateful for our public and private partners in the ongoing clean-up efforts: U.S. EPA, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Keller Partners & Co. and SME. Additionally, we appreciate the efforts of the Indiana Congressional delegation members and their staff for their support in this work,” Huntington Mayor Richard Strick said. “With this award and local funds, the City is able to remediate the remaining onsite materials and demolish the structures by the end of 2025. This next step will prepare the site for safe and productive reuse that will benefit the neighbors around it.” Brownfield sites like H.K. Porter are properties where redevelopment is prevented due to environmental contamination.  The just-announced EPA grant will pay costs associated  with decontaminating interior surfaces, clearing residual debris and removing asbestos-laden dust left behind from decades of manufacturing activity at the property’s main facility. This methodical cleanup process will happen alongside the building’s demolition. Concrete slab foundations from the already-demolished outbuildings and parking areas that remain on site will also be removed. Building upon initial community feedback and residents’ comments at public meetings held most recently last fall, Huntington will establish a Reuse Advisory Committee to gather additional public input and consider different reuse plans. On top of the EPA grant award, the City of Huntington is committing another $1.75 million for the remaining demolition in addition to applying for a $500,000 state Blight Clearance Program grant. The targeted result will be having the property cleared for reuse and ready for redevelopment to begin by 2026, provided no additional contamination is identified. “Cleanup and demolition of the H.K. Porter site have been a longstanding priority for the City of Huntington. It has long been a drain on city resources, the tax base and quality of life for the community, especially those residents who have to look at it out their windows every single day,” said Bryn Keplinger, the city’s director of Community Development and Redevelopment. The City of Huntington’s Redevelopment Commission acquired the H.K. Porter property in 2014 due to tax delinquency. Environmental assessments of the property began immediately, and deliberate, incremental progress has been made since.