The Wilensky Salvage Yard in Minneapolis had been used for auto parts salvage and disposal for 50 years. Although city officials were aware of significant contamination, they acquired the property as part of a larger tract being assembled for new light industry.
Remediation of the salvage yard got under way in 1995. The $900,000 cleanup, funded by state hazardous waste subdistrict tax increment financing, took five months to complete.
As part of the funding mechanism, property taxes from businesses in an eight-block area surrounding the salvage yard were earmarked for the site’s cleanup. Under that strategy, revenue from properties previously redeveloped by the city contributed to the cleanup effort.
The Wilensky site already has attracted new users. Microtron, a minority-owned electronics company, has built a 65,000-square-foot facility that will employ about 160 people. According to the company, a key factor in its decision to locate at the former brownfield was a letter of “no association” from the state, clearing the company of all liability for past contamination on the site.