The Tampa City Council has approved a $370,000 contract for an environmental study and the cleanup of any toxins found on a triangular swatch of grassy land across from the Encore project.
Cardno TBE, a consulting and engineering firm with offices in Tampa and Clearwater, received the city contract.
In June, the city was awarded a $400,000, three-year federal brownfield grant. The site slated for study, about 1½ acres, is bordered by Nebraska Avenue, Nuccio Parkway and Maryland Street, and is next to Tampa Park Apartments.
According to city records, the site might have underground storage tanks and buried debris. People living near the area will be told about the city project, and their ideas about the site's future use will be requested.
"We'd like to see something like a grocery store or appropriate retail that would complement Encore," said Ed Johnson, the city's East Tampa redevelopment manager.
Encore is planned by the Tampa Housing Authority as a $450 million mixed-income urban development replacing Central Park Village, a former public housing complex. The Ella, a senior apartment complex, opened in December. Two more apartment complexes, for seniors and families, are under construction.
Potential commercial development at Encore could include a grocery store and bank.
The site targeted by the brownfield grant was formerly a gas station. The city also did vehicle maintenance and repairs there.
Results of the assessment could be available by the end of April. The grant includes $200,000 for cleanup, if needed. If cleanup costs are more expensive, Johnson said, the city would have to find more money.
Tampa's brownfield grant was one of nine awarded nationwide. Although most such grants pay for environmental studies, this one was unique in providing cleanup funds, too.