Quite a few folks out there loathe to give praise to a government program, and often for good reason.
But this joint effort with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency targets abandoned gas stations along Route 66 for cleanup so they can be reused.
The Missouri DNR produced this video explaining the program. It uses the Route 66 Welcome Center in Webb City, Mo., as a success story:
The description with the video says:
Many services, such as gas stations, restaurants, motels and drive-in theaters, were constructed along Route 66. As the interstate took the place of the original highway, many of these businesses closed and became abandoned. Several of the abandoned underground storage tanks at the gas stations were never properly addressed and may have leaked gasoline into the soil and groundwater. These issues could pose a current or future risk to human health or the environment.
To help fix this potential issue the department will use money available through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks. It is hoped these assessments will lead to the clean-up and the eventual safe reuse of these abandoned station properties. See how this program helped create the Webb City Route 66 Information Center at dnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/rte66infocenter.htm
The department is looking for potential sites and is asking for suggestions from residents in communities along the historic roadway. To inform the department about any projects your community may have, contact the department at 573-751-6822 or send e-mail to [email protected] before Sept. 15.
Arizona has had a similar program for in place for years, and it’s received a lot of praise — not just for ridding a potentially dangerous contamination site, but spurring new development along the Route 66 corridor.
If you or someone you know in Missouri owns one of these abandoned properties along the Mother Road, I really encourage you to contact the state’s DNR.