Saturday, May 18, 2013

EPA Announces Selected Recipients to Receive $62.5 Million to Clean Up Contaminated Sites, Protect Health and the Environment, and Revitalize Communities Nationwide

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of 240 recipients recommended to receive $62.5 million in grants to protect people’s health and the environment in local communities. These new investments, funded by EPA’s Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) grants, provide communities with funding necessary to assess, cleanup and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment.

“Brownfields sites are community assets and a key component of the Obama Administration’s efforts to provide tools to sustainably revitalize communities and foster economic development,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Through these grant resources local communities can continue to assess, cleanup and redevelop properties to meet local needs for jobs, housing and recreation while protecting people’s health and the local environment.”

These Brownfields grants target under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed. Approximately $29.5 million are going to communities that have been impacted by auto plant closures. Other selected recipients include tribes and communities in 45 states across the country. Communities selected range in population from a few hundred, like City of St. Marks, Fla. to New York City, which is home to more than 8 million people. Specifically, 106 grants will support communities with populations greater than 100,000 and 134 grants will go to communities with fewer than 100,000 residents -- with 29 of these will go to communities of less than 10,000 people. Nearly half of the grantees this year are new recipients.

The InterRoyal Mill in Connecticut and a former Electroplater property in New York are just two examples of former industrial sites receiving assessment funding. In Rhode Island, cleanup funding will go toward cleaning up an abandoned former service station and other contaminated properties at the Uniroyal rubber plant site. Other types of sites selected for cleanup include a closed middle school, salvage yard, hospital and manufacturing properties. Future anticipated uses include neighborhood redevelopment, commercial revitalization, an arts center, business park, wellness center/clinic, community health center, theater, and office space.

There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States. More than 20,000 properties have been assessed, and more than 850 properties have been cleaned up through EPA’s Brownfields program. EPA’s Brownfields investments have also leveraged more than $19 billion in overall cleanup and redevelopment funding from public and private sources. On average $17.79 is leveraged for every EPA Brownfields grant dollar spent. These investments resulted in approximately 87,000 jobs nationwide. When Brownfields are addressed, nearby property values can increase 2-3 percent. A 2011 pilot study indicated Brownfields site redevelopment increases location efficiency, which means that residents live closer to where they work and play reducing their commute times and greenhouse gas emissions. EPA’s preliminary research has also shown that redeveloping Brownfield sites results in an efficient reuse of existing infrastructure and decreasing instances of stormwater runoff. These projects can have a positive impact on community revitalization by leveraging jobs, producing clean energy, and providing recreation opportunities for surrounding neighborhoods.
More information on Brownfields grants by state: http://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/ 
More information on EPA’s Brownfields: Program http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/
Success Stories http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/success/index.htm
Benefits http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/overview/Brownfields-Benefits-postcard.pdf
According to the "Benefits postcard" at http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/overview/Brownfields-Benefits-postcard.pdf through fiscal year 2012, on average, $17.79 are leveraged for each EPA Brownfields dollar expended; on average, 7.30 jobs are leveraged per $100,000 of EPA Brownfields funding expended on Assessment, Cleanup and Revolving Loan Fund cooperative agreements.

Brownfields Program Accomplishments as of April 2013 Including State and Tribal Program:
  • Properties Assessed: 20,327
  • Cleanups Completed: 854
  • Acres Made Ready for Reuse: 38,976
  • Dollars leveraged: $19.3B
  • Jobs Leveraged: 87,095
Since FY 2006, Accomplishment Report by State and Tribal Response Program Using CERCLA Section 128(a) Funding:
  • Enrolled over 42,000 properties
  • Completed more than 68,800 cleanups
  • Made over 644,000 acres ready for reuse
Five pilot studies conducted by the Brownfields Program on Environmental (Air and Water) Benefits from Brownfield Redevelopments, indicate brownfield sites tend to have greater location efficiency than alternative development scenarios resulting in a 32 to 57 percent reduction in vehicle miles traveled, thus reducing pollution emissions including green house gasses. These same site comparisons show an estimated 47 to 62 percent reduction of stormwater runoff.

Additional study funded by the Brownfields program to assess the impact of Brownfields grants on residential property values, concluded residential property values increased between 2 and 3 percent once a nearby brownfield was assessed or cleaned up. The study further concluded that cleaning up a brownfield can increase overall property values within a one mile radius by $0.5 to $1.5 million. Also, Initial anecdotal surveys indicate a reduction in crime in recently revitalized brownfield areas.

Success Stories
In Milwaukee, King Commons Leads Development of the Historic King Drive Neighborhoodhttp://www.epa.gov/brownfields/success/milwaukee_wi.pdf
The King and Hadley property is part of the historic King Drive neighborhood, located immediately north of downtown Milwaukee.  Encompassed by the city’s Harambee area, which is Swahili for “pulling together,” this neighborhood of more than 20,000 residents has served as the community’s commercial center for generations. The 0.64-acre King and Hadley property was once comprised of nine separate parcels used for a number of purposes over the past decades, including residential, auto repair, and dry cleaning facilities. By the early 1990s the property had become mostly idle and fallen into disrepair, prompting the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM) to perform preliminary assessments; the RACM ultimately acquired the property through an adverse condemnation action in 1997. After taking ownership, the city performed a series of progressively more detailed assessments that revealed petroleum, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) contaminating the property’s soil and ground water. In total, RACM spent $150,000 on assessments, demolition of structures, and the removal of underground storage tanks. These assessments were completed in 2003.

Key accomplishments:
  • Leveraged $3.6 million to develop 6,000 square feet of street-level commercial space and 42 new apartment units, with 24 additional units planned.
  • Created a residential and commercial facility on a former brownfield, with a modern, pedestrian-friendly design, and spurred additional development in the area.
  • Received the 2005 Mayor’s Urban Design Award and the 2006 State Farm Insurance Building Blocks Award for Small Projects.

Using the 2003 EPA Cleanup grant and $31,000 in additional funding from RACM, cleanup was completed in March 2005. These efforts included the removal of more than 3,000 tons of contaminated soil and installation of a vapor mitigation barrier. By this point the property had been purchased by King Drive Commons, LLC, which began a $3.6 million redevelopment project with assistance from the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation, a local community development corporation that ensured that the community was represented throughout the planning process. Redevelopment was completed only a few months later, in August 2005. The new complex features 6,000 square feet of street-level commercial space and 42 housing rental units on the upper floors. Additional, future construction will create another 24 rental units. This redevelopment project received the 2005 Mayor’s Urban Design award and the 2006 State Farm Insurance Building Blocks Award for Small Projects, and was featured in a nationally released video on green buildings and sustainable design. The property’s reuse is just one component of the redevelopment of the historic King Drive Business Improvement District (BID); in just the past ten years, the historic King Drive BID has had over $200 million worth of new development, bringing customers to King Drive businesses and enhancing the area’s economic outlook.

The Dahlia Square Shopping Center
The Dahlia Square Shopping Center was built in the early 1950s on the site of the former Ferry Brickyard. The shopping center quickly became a focal point for local business and commerce, functioning as a community hub. Over the decades, the once vibrant shopping center—at one point the largest African American owned shopping center in the United States—slowly began to deteriorate as the shopping habits of local citizens shifted. By the 1990s, Dahlia Square was less than 15 percent occupied and had fallen into disrepair. The Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) and the City of Denver created the Northeast Park Hill Urban Renewal area in 2001 to help redevelop and reinvigorate this area. During assessment of the property’s redevelopment potential, significant soil contamination was found that needed to be addressed.

Key Accomplishments:
  • Property cleanup resulted in the removal of tens of thousands of cubic yards of organic material and four USTs.
  • A total of over $19 million has been leveraged for cleanup and redevelopment from public and private sources.
  • Redevelopment has resulted in the opening of the Park Hill Family Medical Clinic and the phased development of a 128-unit affordable housing complex for seniors.
  • The Dahlia Square Senior Apartment complex will adhere to Enterprise Green Community standards.
Parkhill Community, Inc. received a $200,000 Brownfields Cleanup grant from EPA in 2005 to address the contamination found at the Dahlia Square property. In 2005, EPA also used $78,000 in Targeted Brownfields Assessment funding to complete a Phase II Environmental Assessment of the site. This grant was part of a wide array of funding sources used for property remediation, including other grants and loans from federal and local sources, which totaled more than $7 million. Remediation of the property’s soil resulted in the excavation of 40,000 cubic yards of landfill materials in abandoned mine pits left from its previous use as a brickyard. This material was disposed of at a local landfill. Additionally, three 3,000-4,000 gallon underground storage tanks (USTs) and one 500-gallon waste oil UST were removed from the property.

Cleanup was completed in June 2006, paving the way for redevelopment. A private developer purchased the property, and in 2009 opened the new, 12,000 square-foot Park Hill Family Medical Clinic. The developer also had plans to build more than 100 new housing units, but had to put these plans on hold due to the slow housing market. However, a second developer agreed to build a 128-unit affordable housing complex for seniors, adhering to Enterprise Green Community standards implemented by the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA). This development has been awarded a 9 percent tax credit by the CHFA and has resulted in an additional private investment of over $12 million. With the grand opening of the Dahlia Square Senior Apartment complex in October 2011, the developer will continue phased construction in 2012-13 while providing immediate housing.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency www.EPA.gov 
Press Release dated May 8, 2013

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