The brownfields grant was one of two awarded in Georgia by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The funds are intended to clean contaminated properties and repurpose the sites for economic development.
Sibley Mill, 1717 Goodrich St., was built in 1881 on the banks of the Augusta Canal. It operated continuously until closing in 2006.
The historic mill, purchased by the authority in 2010, is gradually being prepared for redevelopment. Mayor Deke Copenhaver’s Augusta Regional Collaboration project has proposed using Sibley Mill and neighboring King Mill as dormitories and other usable space for Georgia Regents University.
“The first step to redevelopment, whatever purpose that may be, whether for a university or other purpose, is removal of contamination,” said Dayton Sherrouse, the canal authority’s executive director.
The authority has maintained the site and operates its hydropower turbines, which generate revenue through the sale of electricity. It also financed $242,000 in remediation inside the old mill, and used its first $200,000 EPA grant to clean soil fronting Augusta Canal.
The latest grant, which requires a 20 percent match, will be used for soil remediation on the backside of the mill near River Watch Parkway.
Work likely won’t begin until early 2015, Sherrouse said.
The other Georgia project receiving a $200,000 grant was the East Decatur Greenway.