ROCKLAND — Rockland hopes to land a $500,000 federal grant to clean up a former junkyard in a residential neighborhood.

The City Council gave a go-ahead for the grant application and Monday evening, Nov. 22, when the city held a formal public hearing required to apply for the grant.

Environmental engineer, Stephen Dyer, said the announcement on who will receive the grants will be made next summer, and the money will become available to successful applications starting Oct. 1, 2022. The grants will be up to $500,000, with a $100,000 match required by the communities.

The money would be used to remove contaminated soils on three contiguous lots on Rockland Street the city acquired in March 2016 for nonpayment of property taxes. The property totals slightly more than a half acre.

The property was the home of Ronald and Mona Shafter, as well as the Shafter junkyard. The Shafter junkyard business was founded in 1914 by Ronald Shafter’s grandfather, David Shafter, and operated for nearly 100 years.

Dyer said the property is contaminated with hazardous chemicals. If the city were to receive the grant, the most contaminated soils would be removed and a foot of clean soils would be deposited on the property.

This could make the property suitable for residential development.

The Council met Sept. 27 to discuss a proposal to use the land as a parking lot, particularly for overflow parking from the Maine State Ferry Terminal, but Councilors agreed to reject that proposal in response to opposition from neighbors.