Involving the Community in Cleanup and Reuse

Our Commitment to Engaging Our Neighbors in the Former Kerr-McGee Site


How we work with our beneficiaries, neighbors, and other stakeholders. Click image to enlarge.

The Multistate Trust — in coordination with our beneficiaries, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality — is deeply committed to involving the community in the cleanup and redevelopment planning of the former Kerr-McGee Site in Columbus, Mississippi.

We work in partnership with Site stakeholders, including the people that live and work near the Site, the City of Columbus, and community organizations, especially the Memphis Town Community Action Group (CAG).

The Multistate Trust, with our beneficiaries, is dedicated to:

  • Protecting and involving the community as we clean up the Site and facilitate its safe, beneficial reuse.

  • Investing in the community during the cleanup by hiring and training local residents, giving them skills, certifications, and experience in the environmental sector.

  • Building a better tomorrow for the Memphis Town neighborhood and the surrounding City of Columbus by turning a polluted site into a community asset.


Our Key Stakeholders

In addition to the community surrounding the Site, our key stakeholders are:

The MemphisTown Community Action Group

The Memphistown Community Action Group (CAG) was formed to provide a platform for meaningful public involvement in the Superfund process. The CAG receives a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which funds the engagement of an independent technical resource to review and comment on work performed by the Multistate Trust.

The CAG’s Board of Directors, chaired by the Rev. Steve Jamison, consists of dedicated community members who meet monthly to share information about issues related to environmental cleanup and redevelopment plans.

The CAG is a valued partner for the Multistate Trust’s work in Columbus, serving as a key neighborhood voice and providing the primary means for our team to provide regular updates to the community. At CAG meetings, we share our progress and welcome the opportunity to hear community concerns.

The CAG generally meets on the fourth Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Municipal Court Complex at 1501 Main Street, Columbus, MS 39701. Read more about the CAG here.

The City of Columbus

City of Columbus Mayor Robert E. Smith, Sr., left, with Multistate Trust Environmental Programs Director Lauri Gorton, accepts the 2017 MML award for the 7th Avenue North ditch improvement project.

City of Columbus Mayor Robert E. Smith, Sr., left, with Multistate Trust Environmental Programs Director Lauri Gorton, accepts the 2017 MML award for the 7th Avenue North ditch improvement project.

The City of Columbus is a key stakeholder in the Multistate Trust’s work at the former Kerr-McGee Site. We continue to work with the City to remove creosote and contamination in the City’s storm drainage ditches and restore them to a condition that will also minimize flooding in the neighborhoods.

Work to date includes improving the 14th Avenue North and 7th Avenue North stormwater ditches. We also cooperate with the City to minimize the impact of our activities on local streets.

The City of Columbus won the Mississippi Municipal League’s (MML) municipal excellence award for public works for two consecutive years—in 2017 for the 7th Avenue North ditch improvement project, and in 2016 for the 14th Avenue North ditch restoration.

Visit the City of Columbus website here.


Redevelopment Planning Initiative: Our Community Activities

We are dedicated to involving our neighbors and other stakeholders in the Redevelopment Planning Initiative to ensure the effort produces a community-supported plan for safe, beneficial reuse of the Site.

Please visit the Redevelopment Planning Initiative webpage and the Next Steps & Resources webpage to learn about the various opportunities for the public to provide input.

Click the button below to learn more about upcoming events.


Investing in Columbus: Local Training and Hiring

Individuals receive special training at the Site’s Community Resource Building as part of the Pine Yard removal action project.

Individuals receive special training at the Site’s Community Resource Building as part of the Pine Yard removal action project.

As part of our cleanup and revitalization of the former Kerr-McGee Site, the Multistate Trust is providing training and employment opportunities to individuals and reinvesting cleanup funds in the local economy by hiring qualified area businesses.

  • 94 local residents and 10 local contractors have been hired for the ongoing Pine Yard soil removal project in 2018.

  • 20 local residents and 6 local contractors were hired for the 7th Avenue North ditch improvement project in 2016-2017.

We have engaged J5 GBL LLC, a Columbus-based, minority-owned business, as our partner in our community hiring and engagement efforts. As a longtime member of the Multistate Trust operations and construction team in Columbus, J5 GBL has created numerous jobs to offset the damage caused by the contamination from the Site.

We work with J5 GBL to recruit and train under- or unemployed residents and provide on-the-job experience needed to secure long-term jobs in the environmental sector.

Seventeen minority individuals were trained under the EPA Superfund Job Training Initiative (SuperJTI). Since training, several of these SuperJTI graduates have been hired by J5 GBL and are working at the Site, while others are employed elsewhere.

Learn more about how we’re reinvesting in Columbus here.


Other Community Involvement Initiatives

To help inform our neighbors about Site progress, we use several communication tools and resources, including:

  • Monthly Updates: Project team members attend the Memphis Town Community Advisory Group’s (CAG) monthly meetings in order to share our updates about cleanup, investigations and other Site activities.

  • Availability Sessions: Our project team periodically offers informal, drop-in sessions at the Site’s Community Resource Center at 2300 14th Avenue North. Our goal is to encourage our neighbors to meet one-on-one with project team members to ask questions, express concerns, and learn more about the Site and our activities.

  • Materials: We have developed and distributed fact sheets, a newsletter, and other materials to inform community stakeholders of Site activities and progress, including on- and off-site removal actions and improvements.

    • Read the Tronox Tort Claims Trust (Garretson Trust) fact sheet here.

    • Read the June 2019 issue of our newsletter here.

    • Read the 1st Quarter 2019 issue of our newsletter here.

    • Read the December 2018 issue of our newsletter here.

    • Read the October 2018 issue of our newsletter here.

    • Read the September 2018 issue of our newsletter here.

  • Website: This website provides access to general information and links to resources regarding the Site and the progress of our cleanup and redevelopment planning.


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