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redevelopment of former Brooklyn School site

redevelopment of former Brooklyn School site
North St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity
Hibbing, Minnesota

Habitat for Humanity homes rise from school’s ashes

In 1973, a fire destroyed the Brooklyn School in Hibbing, Minnesota. The property then remained idle until 2008, when a private party donated it to North St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity for new-home construction. The organization planned to build eight homes on the site.

To understand the site's environmental conditions, Habitat for Humanity hired Barr to conduct Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments, which revealed elevated levels of lead and barium along with asbestos in the buried materials. To minimize disposal costs, waste materials were investigated and characterized according to contaminant type and concentration. This led to cost savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars by reducing the volume of costly waste that required off-site disposal and reusing those soils that met regulatory criteria.

Barr also helped Habitat for Humanity and the City of Hibbing apply for and obtain $470,000 in grant funds from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board to pay for assessment, investigation, cleanup, and site-improvement costs.
Shortly after the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup Program staff issued liability assurances to Habitat for Humanity, the organization proceeded with site development work and home construction. Barr employees and their family members volunteered their time to help construct the first home. The project won a 2014 Minnesota Brownfields ReScape Award in the Small City Impact category.