Historic Highways Project
The goal of the Historic Highways Project is to remediate and reuse abandoned or underutilized former gas stations along the former Route 66 (Missouri and Kansas) and the former Lincoln Highway (Iowa and Nebraska). For three weeks in summer 2007, 217 former gas stations were documented by driving the length of these highways.
Project Update - April 2010
EPA Region 7 is reaching out to local communities in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska to address the former gas stations identified during a driving tour. In February 2009, EPA sent letters to 191 officials in 83 communities in Region 7 that have abandoned or underutilized gas stations in EPA's Historic Highways inventory. The letters went out to mayors, city clerks, city administrators and economic development officials. Information in the letter (PDF) (2pp, 102K About PDF) introduced the project and solicited involvement by local officials. EPA received responses from 17 communities expressing an interest in participating in the project. Those communities were asked to submit detailed information on the sites in their communities that are listed in the inventory. After reviewing this information, EPA and its partners will prioritize the sites and initially select one or two in each state to identify and eliminate barriers leading towards redevelopment.
The project partners set the standards for prioritizing the former gas stations identified during the driving tour, and began examining those properties in their states that are most likely to be reused. The partners want to work with communities to revitalize those properties.These actions by our state partners followed the review of information gathered on the tour:
- The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) quickly identified a property in Carroll and began working with the community and new property owner to put the site back into reuse. Their work resulted in the former gas station in Carroll being converted into a winery with an agreement reached between the new and former owners, whereby the former owner will complete remedial activities at the site and the new owner will not be held liable for past contamination and future remediation. EPA is presently working with IDNR and local officials in Ogden to determine the best reuse of a former gas station located at the entrance to downtown.
- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is working with EPA and local officials in Baxter Springs to conduct an environmental assessment at a downtown site that the community would like to revitalize.
- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) submitted a proposal to use state funds to pay for environmental assessments and potential cleanup of properties along the former Route 66 in St. Louis. EPA is working with the City of St. Louis, MDNR, and the Missouri Petroleum Storage Tank Insurance Fund (PSTIF) to identify and eliminate barriers to reuse of sites.
- EPA is working with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) by proposing that environmental assessments be conducted at sites in Lexington, Lodgepole and Cozad. NDEQ has also talked to the Nebraska State Historical Society to see if they have any available redevelopment funds.
This project began under the leadership of the EPA Region 7 Land Revitalization Team. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality are partnering on this project with the National Park Service offices in Omaha, Neb., and Santa Fe, N.M., EPA Region 7's Brownfields and Underground Tanks Programs, and EPA Headquarters' Office of Underground Storage Tanks.
Please return to this page for progress updates.
For more information, please contact David Doyle, EPA Region 7, at (913) 551-7667 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Abandoned or underutilized former gas stations along Route 66
Locations of stations pictured below (left to right):
Top row: Between Pacific & St. Clair, Mo., in St. James, Mo., and in Springfield, Mo.
Second row: In Heatonville, Mo., near Galena, Kan., and in Baxter Springs, Kan.