It has been over 70 years since the Denver Ordnance Plant existed in Lakewood, a place that manufactured small arms ammunition to support the U.S. Military during World War II. Following the war, the …
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It has been over 70 years since the Denver Ordnance Plant existed in Lakewood, a place that manufactured small arms ammunition to support the U.S. Military during World War II. Following the war, the plant was transformed into office and laboratory space for federal agencies - now known as the Denver Federal Center.
Since the late 1980s, an extensive cleanup effort ensued on the property, resulting in the removal of over 775,000 tons of remediation waste and over 340,000 tons of contaminated soil from the center's Downing Reservoir.
That cleanup has not gone unrecognized.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bestowed the Rocky Mountain Region Environmental Team of the General Services Administration (GSA) the National Federal Facility Excellence in Site Reuse award. In its second year, the award is given to federal agencies who have supported the reuse and restoration of federal facility sites. The honor was given to GSA in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
“The Federal Center is an excellent example of a long term, complicated federal facility cleanup that has successfully facilitated extensive reuse opportunities,” said Peter Wright, assistant administrator for the EPA's office of landing and emergency management. “This success story is a model for future cleanup and reuse projects around the country.”
The Denver Federal Center holds nearly 4 million rentable square feet of office space. Thanks to the cleanup in and near the center, projects like St. Anthony Hospital and the RTD Federal Center Station were able to be built on that former Federal Center land.
“We didn't have federal agencies literally fighting to be located on the Federal Center, and that's really the case now,” said Tim Horne, regional administrator of the Rocky Mountain Region Environmental Team of GSA. “That's huge progress.”
There is 59 acres of Denver Federal Center property, south of West Sixth Avenue and east of Union Boulevard, still up for grabs after a judge shelved a proposed project from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless in July.
The Denver Federal Center is home to 27 agencies and over 6,000 federal employees that work in 20 different buildings.
“It is important to recognize that the most valuable resources we have are the state of our land, our air and our people. This (cleanup effort) served all of them,” said John Putnam, director of environmental programs for CDPHE. “It is the ultimate recycling program, and we needed this piece to be recycled.”
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