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  • Solutions for Small Town Senior Housing Via EPA Land Revitalization

    Thursday, December 12, 02:15 pm - 02:45 pm
    West Hall A – Area A
    Learning Lounges
    Track 8: Small Communities and Rural Places
    For over 50 years, Prairie Elementary School served the small town of Cottonwood well. In 2010, the school closed due to dwindling enrollment. With a population of only 1.9 persons per square mile, Idaho County is the definition of rural. Projections show little overall population growth in the near term except for the 65+ age group, which is anticipated to increase by 30%. After years of trying unsuccessfully to sell the school, the community requested IDEQ’s Brownfields Program assist with a site assessment. Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) found during the assessment further reduced the likelihood that the school would sell. Cottonwood appealed to EPA Region 10’s Land Revitalization Technical Assistance Team to evaluate reuse options for the school. During the March 2017 assistance outreach, many people mentioned that senior housing is limited and typically has a waitlist. In late 2017, IDEQ committed $109,000 in state response grant funds to abate ACMs, reducing the cost for reuse and providing an incentive for buyers. In 2018, the school was purchased by local business owners who had participated in the EPA technical assistance. Today they are repurposing the school for senior housing.
    Steve Gill Jon Munkers
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