Gym Property in Buena Vista Awarded Brownfields Cleanup Grant

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced Watershed NP, Inc., will receive a $979,222 Brownfields Cleanup Grant, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to clean up the 5,450-square-foot former McGinnis Gymnasium at 113 North Court Street in the City of Buena Vista, Colorado. EPA’s award for the Buena Vista project is among six Brownfields grants totaling nearly $4.78 million announced today for cleanup and revitalization projects in communities across Colorado. 

The McGinnis Gym has been vacant since 2008 due to the identification of hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead-based paint, mercury and mold. EPA’s cleanup grant will enable the gym to be restored to its original use as a recreational, educational and performing arts space serving the community.

“Watershed NP has worked with local partners to develop a vision for restoring McGinnis Gymnasium as a prime recreational, educational and performing arts space,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “EPA is proud to support this cleanup and a safe, vibrant space for residents and visitors to gather as a community.” 

“I am deeply committed to improving the economic and environmental well-being of Colorado’s 7th district,” said Representative Brittany Pettersen. “I’m glad to see federal funds coming to cleanup efforts, which will help our communities thrive. The McGinnis Gymnasium holds a rich historical significance in Buena Vista, and this award ensures it will continue to serve the next generation in Chaffee County.” 

These funds are part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites while advancing environmental justice through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant programs. Thanks to the historic boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this grant program is the largest ever awarded by EPA’s Brownfields MARC Grant programs. 

“The McGinnis Gym project could not have gotten this far without EPA and partners KSU and Tetra Tech,” said Katy Welter, president of Watershed NP, Inc. “The training, technical assistance, warm introductions and now funding have allowed us to return a blighted building on Buena Vista’s elementary school campus to its historic use as a school and community gym, theater and assembly space. It’s fitting to bring back the McGinnis Gym in this time, and with the federal government’s help as the gym was built as a federal Public Works Administration project in 1936. Our little mountain town thanks you!” 


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