Contaminated Tank Removal Brings Former Pontiac School Closer to Revival

The site clean-up and redevelopment of the former Webster Elementary School in Pontiac took a big step forward today with the removal of a contaminated 20,000-gallon underground tank. Community members applauded as a crane operator lifted the tank, which used to store fuel oil, out of the ground.

Oakland County received a $425,000 grant from Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) last year to clean-up the property.

“Without these grants, many of these sites would continue to be an eyesore in our communities,” Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said. “So, we’re really looking forward to future collaborations and partnerships with cities throughout Oakland County and the Webster Community Center to help ensure the success of our towns and neighborhoods.”

Micah 6 Community, a Pontiac-based non-profit, is investing $21 million to transform the former elementary school located on West Huron Street into the Webster Community Center which will provide social and recreational services including six Head Start classrooms, a food co-op, art classes and therapy, performing arts programs, a WIC (Women, Infants, Children) office, a walk-in clinic, a small business incubator, and community event rooms.

“We are excited to kick off the environmental remediation piece of this project because this represents another step closer to a completed community center offering services, activities, and opportunities for people of all ages in our community,” Micah 6 Community Executive Director Coleman Yoakum said. “We are grateful that Oakland County and so many others for walking along side this project and serving our neighbors in this way.”

Micah 6 Community expects to complete the renovations of the building and property by December of 2023. Tenants will include Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency, Honor Community Health, SMART, Rochester University, Art Experience, Pontiac Community Foundation, Oakland County Sheriff PAL, Sprout Fresh Food Store, Kaleo Kids, Accent Pontiac, and Pontiac Theatre IV.

“This nearly half million dollars helps to bring the exciting Webster School project nearer to completion, while protecting the health and safety of our community through environmental remediation. Many thanks to County Executive Dave Coulter for his leadership in making this happen,” Pontiac Mayor Tim Greimel said.

Following the lifting of the contaminated tank out of the ground, Micah 6 Community gave community members and the media a guided tour of the inside of the building where they will begin environmental remediation. The $425,000 EGLE grant will also help remove other contaminants such as asbestos and lead-based paint.

“EGLE is happy to able to play a part in bringing a contaminated and blighted property back into safe and productive reuse,” said Carrie Geyer, Brownfield Assessment & Redevelopment Section manager at EGLE.

For more information about Micah 6 Community and its projects, go to micah6community.com.

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