Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has begun building 11 high-quality, single-family homes on Maryland Avenue in St. Paul's North End neighborhood. The development has a public alley and a stormwater filtration pond. The site is adjacent to Willow Reserve, a 23-acre urban oasis that is being restored by the Capital Region Watershed District.
Twin Cities Habitat acquired the land from the City of St. Paul’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority in March 2017. Work began to develop the land for the homes in mid-April 2017. During that process, construction debris that had been buried for decades was uncovered, including wood, bricks, concrete, and asbestos.
Historically, asbestos was used in siding and pipe insulation on homes. It is still in homes in the area today. Asbestos does not pose a health risk unless it is crushed up and the particles are inhaled. The asbestos discovered does not pose a current health risk to residents in the area.
Once the construction debris was discovered, work on the land was suspended. Environmental engineers from American Engineering Testing (AET) were hired to perform additional testing. Workers from AET, Veit, and Barr Engineering conducted tests throughout summer 2017.
Cleaning of the soil began in mid-July 2018. More than 900 truckloads of contaminated soil were removed and, by fall 2018, the site was declared safe and ready for construction.
During the cleanup, the site was secured and there was no exposed asbestos or other debris. A fence was installed and erosion control measures were taken. Twin Cities Habitat and the Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) actively monitored the site during the construction inactivity.
AET created a Remediation Action Plan (RAP) that was reviewed and approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). Twin Cities Habitat applied to several potential funders to help with the cost of cleaning up the area (detail in the timeline below).
Twin Cities Habitat is excited to build quality homes and sell them to well-prepared buyers in the North End neighborhood soon.
We will continue to update residents as new information becomes available. If you have questions, please use the form on this page to contact us.
Estimated Project Timeline
- On-site contamination was discovered, and construction work was suspended.
- Veit, American Engineering Testing (AET), and Barr Engineering were contracted to test the soil.
May – June 2017
- The site was reported to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), which oversees contaminated soil issues.
- Phase 1 – Environment Site Assessment (ESA) was conducted by AET.
- Phase 2 – Investigation Work Plan was completed by AET.
- Emissions Control Plan was completed by AET.
- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency provided oversight and reviewed all findings.
July – August 2017
- A Voluntary Brownfields Program Application was completed by AET.
- Phase 2 onsite investigation was conducted by AET, Veit, and Barr Engineering.
- A Response Action Plan was developed by AET.
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reviewed and approved the Response Action Plan.
- Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and the City of St. Paul co-applied for grant funding to clean up the site. This included applications to Ramsey County’s Environmental Response Fund and Metropolitan Council’s Tax Base Revitalization Account.
- Environmental cleanup grants were awarded. This project did not receive any funding from the November 1, 2017 award cycle from Ramsey County or the Metropolitan Council.
- Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and the City of St. Paul co-applied for Ramsey County Environmental Response Fund (ERF).
- Twin Cities Habitat received project funding from the US Treasury – Capital Magnet Fund to assist in environmental remediation of the site.
- Twin Cities Habitat received additional funding from the City of St. Paul HRA to assist in environmental remediation of the site.
- Veit, AET, and Barr Engineering began onsite cleanup on July 16, 2018.
- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will provide oversight of this process.
August – October 2018
- Veit, AET, and Barr Engineering completed infrastructure work, including installation of the Public Alley, Storm Water pond, and Sewer and Water connections in the Maryland Avenue Right of Way.
March – April 2019
- Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity began construction on the first single-family homes.
Throughout 2019 – 2020
- Continued construction and completion of 11 high-quality, single-family homes.