River of Goods/Terrybear Urns and Memorials site in Frogtown


Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) staff from the Petroleum Brownfields (PB) and Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup (VIC) programs provided technical oversight of the environmental investigation, cleanup and redevelopment of the 4.94-acre River of Goods/Terrybear Urns & Memorials site located at 946 Pierce Butler Route in St. Paul. The site is also known as the Chatsworth & Pierce Butler Property and the former Minnehaha Lanes site.


Before it was developed, the site area was part of an unregulated/unpermitted dump. The site was developed in 1957 with the Minnehaha Lanes bowling center. A restaurant, nightclub and pro shop also occupied portions of the site.

Environmental issues

  • The footprint of the former unregulated dump covered about half of the site.
  • Dump materials extend at least 30 feet below ground surface (bgs) and include concrete, glass, wood, brick and ash.
  • Soils were contaminated with heavy metals, chlorinated solvents, petroleum compounds, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
  • Groundwater was contaminated with heavy metals, chlorinated solvents, and low-level petroleum compounds. Groundwater contamination did not require remediation.
  • Soil gas was contaminated with chlorinated solvents.
  • The dump extends off-site and has been referred for further delineation.

Environmental cleanup process

  • The building on site was demolished.
  • The contaminated soils and dump materials were excavated to depths of 12 feet bgs on the northern portion of the site and 4 to 12 feet bgs on the southern portion of the site.
  • Concrete was crushed and recycled.
  • Unimpacted dredge soil from the Saint Paul Port Authority’s Southport location was used to fill some excavated areas.

Redevelopment of the site

  • A 50,000-square-foot building was constructed and is used by River of Goods and Terrybear Urns & Memorials. River of Goods is a global company that sources and develops products for the direct-to-consumer industry (TV shopping networks, catalogs, e-commerce and specialty stores). Terrybear has worldwide manufacturing capabilities for handcrafted cremation urns and memorials. These two companies wanted a consolidated headquarters for their growing wholesale design, import and Internet-distribution businesses.
  • Rain gardens that drain to a lined stormwater-management pond were incorporated into the parking lot area.
  • Engineering controls in the new building will prevent contaminated soil gas from entering the building.
  • Community gardens have been put in underutilized green spaces.

Environmental and economic benefits

  • Soil contaminated with hazardous substances and dump materials were removed from the site and environmental contamination risks have been managed.
  • Increased tax revenue — from approximately $50,000 to $150,000 — for the city of St. Paul.
  • The new businesses provide 45 full-time jobs with a minimum wage of $11 per hour and an agreement to add 30 more jobs within 10 years.
  • Continued revitalization of brownfield sites in the Frogtown neighborhood.

Assurances received

  • October 30, 2008, May 20, 2009, and July 9, 2009: Response Action Plan Approvals.
  • May 20, 2009: No Association Determination for the Saint Paul Port Authority.
  • June 16, 2009: Approval of Voluntary Response Actions for Southport Dredge Soil Stockpile.
  • March 24, 2011: Retroactive No Association Determination for the Saint Paul Port Authority.
  • June 20, 2011: No Association Determination for Banbro, LLC.
  • April 3, 2012: Completion of Response Actions (petroleum). April 12, 2013: Certificate of Completion (non-petroleum).

Institutional controls

An Environmental Covenant, recorded in Ramsey County on March 3, 2012, restricts soil disturbance in the areas where dump materials were left in place at depths of 4 to 12 feet bgs.

Project partners

  • MPCA Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup and Petroleum Brownfields programs staff included Mike Connolly, Shanna Schmitt, Mark Koplitz, and Rebecca Bourdon.
  • The developer was Kelly Jameson with the Saint Paul Port Authority.
  • The environmental consultant was Eric Hesse with Liesch Associates, Inc.
  • The new site owners are Terry and Margie Commerford and John Bale with Banbro, LLC.
  • Public funding sources included: ◦ Minnesota Department of Employee and Economic Development (DEED),
    • Metropolitan Council,
    • Saint Paul Port Authority,
    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Region 5 Brownfield Assessment funds,
    • US EPA, Region 5 Revolving Loan funds, and
    • US EPA American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Brownfield Clean-up funds.