HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) – A federal grant totaling nearly $1 million is moving progress along for the cleanup of a Huntington factory that was deliberately set on fire in 2022.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday a Brownfield Cleanup Grant Award of $991,000 to support Huntington’s efforts to remediate the contaminated site, demolish what’s left and make a plan for the property to be used again in the future, the city announced in a release.
H.K. Porter is a facility that sits on about 12 acres and has been abandoned for years. It was vandalized on a regular basis, city officials said, and a fire last year left the property with significant damage and even more contamination than before. The fire started sometime on April 28, and the flames weren’t under control until the next morning.
Redevelopment of the property is projected to begin by 2026, as long as no more contamination is found.
Cleanup and demolition of the H.K. Porter site have been a longstanding priority for the City of Huntington. It has long been a drain on city resources, the tax base and quality of life for the community, especially those residents who have to look at it out their windows every single day.
Bryn Keplinger, Huntington Director of Community Development and Redevelopment
Brownfield sites like H.K. Porter are properties where redevelopment is prevented due to environmental contamination, the release explained. This EPA grant will pay costs associated with decontaminating interior surfaces, clearing residual debris and removing asbestos-laden dust left behind from decades of manufacturing activity at the property’s main facility. This methodical cleanup process will happen alongside the building’s demolition. Concrete slab foundations from the already-demolished outbuildings and parking areas that remain on site will also be removed.
The industrial site has been vacant since 2008, when the Indiana Department of Environmental Management hauled away hazardous materials that had been transported from other locations and stored there.
The city is committing another $1.75 million to the project along with the EPA grant, in addition to applying for a $500,000 state Blight Clearance Program grant. A Reuse Advisory Committee is being created to gather input from the community and consider different plans for the property’s reuse, on top of initial feedback from the public at meetings that have already taken place.
Ten years ago, the city of Huntington embarked on cleaning up 90 years’ worth of pollution from the H.K. Porter site on the east end of the city. We are grateful for our public and private partners in the ongoing clean-up efforts: U.S. EPA, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Keller Partners & Co. and SME. Additionally, we appreciate the efforts of the Indiana Congressional delegation members and their staff for their support in this work. With this award and local funds, the city is able to remediate the remaining onsite materials and demolish the structures by the end of 2025. This next step will prepare the site for safe and productive reuse that will benefit the neighbors around it.Huntington Mayor Richard Strick