City gets more brownfield cleanup money

     Columbia City received another boost in its efforts to restore the property of the former CF Gomma plant.
     The city learned last week that it received an additional $110,004 grant for its work with the approved firm that will handle the cleanup work at Gomma.
     “We had started out thinking it was going to be considerably less than that,” said Jeff Walker, outside operations manager for Columbia City.
     With a property that has continued to be a drag on the neighborhood and likely harbored many chemicals in the building or in the surrounding soil, the city is anxious to get the environmental assessments done and the property restored.
     “We’re hoping this can be done in the next six to eight months,” Columbia City Mayor Jim Fleck said.
     Earlier this year, the city was awarded $400,000 in grants from the United States Environmental Protection Agency for Gomma.
     The grants involve $200,000 for petroleum survey and removal and another $200,000 for hazardous materials surveys and removal.
     “I think we’re making great strides,” Walker said.
     The city and the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation have been working with a potential buyer and occupant of the building, which has put all the more importance on getting the property back into a useful condition.
     In recent months, the city interviewed several environmental cleanup companies to see which one would be selected for the Gomma project.
     “This is good news for us and the citizens of this city,” Fleck said.