PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, WI (Ben Caxton) — Brownfields cleanup projects in two western Wisconsin communities are gaining momentum with the aid of two recently issued awards from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In Prairie du Chien the money will go to cleaning up a blighted site on East Blackhawk Avenue that was built over 20 years, beginning in 1962. In its 57 years, it has included multiple commercial, service and retail operations, including several dry cleaners. A fire destroyed a significant part of the larger building in 2014, including the area where the dry cleaners had been located. Also targeted for assistance is a small building on County Road HH in Eleva which was built in the late 1920s and once doubled as a residence and a general store, complete with a gas pump. The store closed in the 1970s, and the property was sold in 1975 and used the building as a taxidermy shop for the new owner who moved into the second-floor residence. The taxidermy business is shuttered, and the building is now in poor condition and local officials plan to raze the building and develop a parking area. The DNR awarded more than $336,000 in this round of funding to nine communities in the state.