March 6, 2013 10:40:12 AM
Columbus residents wishing to ask questions about some of the services provided by the city will have the opportunity to do so Thursday.
A city service fair will be held at the Trotter Convention Center from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. City planner Christina Berry, the event's organizer, said all of the city's 13 departments will be represented at the fair.
"This will work like a job fair," Berry said. "City department heads will have booths set up to provide information to the city's residents. Human Resources director Pat Mitchell will be there to inform people on how to apply for city jobs. If you have any questions about anything concerning the City of Columbus, this will be the time to ask questions and receive direct answers."
Berry said she will provide information on the comprehensive plan, the Highway 45 Corridor project and the Brownfields grant program.
"I will be answering questions on these issues and helping people try and identify areas for the Brownfields development," she said.
Berry will help the city implement a $400,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant made through the Environmental Protection Agency. It will help determine if areas are contaminated and if the containments can be removed. The city has already identified 30 properties that might qualify for the assessment and is asking residents to help identify other properties that might be contaminated.
Other Mississippi cities that have received an assessment grant include Gulfport (2011), Quitman (2011) and Hattiesburg (2012). Oktibbeha County received contaminant assessment money in 1998. The EPA's Brownfields website (epa.gov/brownfields) claims Brownfields projects leveraged $17.79 per EPA dollar expended and created 78,269 jobs nationwide.
Applicants may seek a waiver of some of the limits. Such waivers must be based on the anticipated level of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum) at a single site. A coalition of three or more eligible applicants can submit one grant proposal under the name of one of the coalition members for up to $ 1 million.
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