EPA Awarding $69.3 Million in Grants to Clean and Redevelop Contaminated Properties

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is giving out $69.3 million grants for new investments to provide communities with funding necessary to clean and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and create jobs while protecting public health.

"Restored Brownfield properties can serve as cornerstones for rebuilding struggling communities. These grants will be the first step in getting pollution out and putting jobs back into neighborhoods across the country,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Clean, healthy communities are places where people want to live, work and start businesses. We're providing targeted resources to help local partners transform blighted, contaminated areas into centers of economic growth."

The 245 grantees include tribes and communities in 39 states across the country, funded by EPA’s Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) grants, and Revolving Loan Fund Supplemental grants. The grants awarded will assess and clean up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Nearly half of the grantees this year are new awardees who demonstrate a high level of commitment for undertaking specific projects and leveraging the funding to move those projects forward.

Highlights of the projects planned by grant recipients:

• DeKalb County, Ga. plans to clean up and redevelop major industrial areas served by transit and infrastructure in community areas, in addition to expanding greenspace and community-based development. One important revitalization effort is targeted for the General Motors Assembly Plant (closed in 2008), which sits at the convergence of two major corridors and the Doraville MARTA Station. Upon redevelopment, the project will reduce blight and increase the local tax base.

• Toledo, Ohio (Coalition) will use the awarded assessment grant funding to revitalize under-served neighborhoods and create local jobs at two proposed projects. The Coalition will investigate properties in the Cherry Street Corridor/Summit Street Redevelopment area to allow for the expansion of St. Vincent's Hospital and Central Catholic High School. Secondly, the Fernwood Growing Center Area, located in an underserved, low income neighborhood, will be expanded by at least two additional sites for the use of urban agriculture.

• Paul Cuffee School, a maritime charter school for Providence public school children in Rhode Island, is receiving two EPA cleanup grants to clean and redevelop adjacent properties for a new parking lot and athletic field for students.

• Land-of-Sky, a local government planning and development organization located in N.C., will use grant funds awarded to rehabilitate the Chatham Site, a former manufacturing plant, a mill and a Western electric plant into approximately 150 multifamily rental units. The project may result in leveraging additional funding, including New Markets Tax Credits, construction permanent loans, Federal Historic Tax Credit equity, NC Mill Rehab Tax Credit equity and deferred development fees. Assessments have been completed and the project is ready to begin redevelopment.

• Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will provide a loan from its Revolving Loan Fund to the city of Kenosha for the cleanup of the Kenosha Engine Plant Cleaning site, a former Chrysler/American Motors plant. The site, once the pride of southeastern Wisconsin, will provide the community the opportunity to market the site to private investors that could bring jobs and tax revenue to the community.

Approximately 29 percent of the grants are being awarded to non-urban areas with populations of 100,000 or less, 16 percent are being awarded to “micro” communities with populations of 10,000 or less and the remaining grants are being awarded to urban areas with populations exceeding 100,000.

There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in America. In 2011, EPA’s brownfields program leveraged 6,447 jobs and $2.14 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funds. Since its inception EPA’s brownfields investments have leveraged more than $18.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding from a variety of public and private sources and have resulted in approximately 75,500 jobs. More than 18,000 properties have been assessed, and over 700 properties have been cleaned up. Brownfields grants also target under-served and low income neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed.

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