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Canal Park Brewing Company in Duluth honored for site redevelopment

The Canal Park Brewing Company has received a Minnesota Brownfields ReScape Award for redeveloping a former industrial site next to the Canal Park Lodge in Duluth.

It was one of four projects to receive a ReScape award recently from Minnesota Brownsfields, a nonprofit that promotes the efficient cleanup and reuse of contaminated land.

The awards are given to projects around the state that demonstrate innovation and collaborate with others to get exemplary results in revitalizing formerly contaminated land.

Canal Park Brewing Company, a restaurant and craft brewery owned by Rockie Kavajecz and his family, won in the economic impact category.

Before the 8,500-square foot brewpub could be built on the former Duluth Spring Co. site in Canal Park, the property had to be cleaned up. The Duluth Spring Co. had manufactured steel leaf springs at the site during the past 50 years. But the site's lead contamination from car batteries stemmed from the early 1900s when it was an industrial dump.

At $600,000, the cleanup was costly.

To help pay for it, strong partnerships between the Kavajecz family, the city of Duluth and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development won them a $418,000 state cleanup grant.

The project was completed in November 2012, using creative design and construction. Another partnership was formed with Minnesota Power to reduce annual energy consumption. The brewpub's malt, hops and water used in brewing are sourced locally. And the restaurant has created about 100 jobs.

LHB also was a contender for the latest round of Brownfields ReScape Awards. The architectural, engineering and planning firm with offices in Duluth and Minneapolis had three projects named finalists, including the Itasca Eco-Enterprise Park in Grand Rapids. LHB designed the demolition and remodeling of portions of the former Ainsworth plant to turn it into the Eco-Enterprise Park.