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DUNKIRK – Preparations are under way for the extensive removal of soil from the former Bertges Building site on Lake Shore Drive, where a vehicle sales and repair business once was situated, members of the Dunkirk Local Development Corporation were told Wednesday.

The soil removal is at the direction of the state Department of Environmental Conservation to remove contaminates so the site can be refurbished for a new use. Chairman Steve Neratko said more than 100 large dump truck loads of soil will be removed from the site. Neratko said he also expects that fuel tanks may have to be removed from the site.

The development corporation is also working on repairs to the former Flickinger Building at Central Avenue and Washington Street. Neratko said some minor repairs are necessary to make the building more secure.

Members were asked to consider a proposal from a group called “Creating Healthy Places to Live Work and Play” for community gardens. Development office staff said the group would like to create a community garden in Washington Park. The staff said the group needs a lead agency to supply insurance, but it has funds for soil and setting up the gardens. The garden spaces would eventually be leased to city residents.

The treasurer’s report indicated that the loan to Rookies on the Lake, a restaurant on Lake Shore Drive, has been satisfied.

Neratko said the development corporation would not consider any new loan requests. He said the corporation is in negotiations with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for review of its past accounting methods. It received HUD funds from the Community Development Block Grant program and was found to have several unacceptable practices when audited. The corporation is working with HUD, Neratko said, to resolve the audit issues and get Community Development Block Grant funds in the future.

Mayor A.J. Dolce reported that the first event of the city’s festival season, a picnic Sunday at Point Gratiot, was well received, with several hundred people in attendance. The next major event is Wreck and Roll from June 6 to 8.