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Communities Get $54M Federal Boost

Monday, June 15, 2015

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WASHINGTON--Hundreds of contaminated and abandoned properties across the nation will be renovated thanks to $54 million in federal funding.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the funding Thursday (May 28).

The EPA Brownfields Program awarded the funds to 243 projects in 147 communities nationwide. The money will be used to "assess, clean up and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment," the agency said.

SouthBronxRedevOrgn
SoBRO

The South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO) was awarded $200,000 to develop an area-wide plan and implementation strategy for the Bronx River-Sheridan Expressway Corridor.

Recipients will each receive between $200,000 and $600,000 in funding toward EPA cooperative agreements, the agency said.

The full recipient list is available here. The properties include mills, plants and other industrial and commercial properties.

Ready and Resourced

The grants, provided early in the redevelopment process, help leverage additional private and public funding for the projects later on, officials said.

In fact, the communities chosen for grants "demonstrate a high level of preparedness to undertake specific projects" as they have obtained "firm commitments of leveraged funds to move projects forward," EPA said.

"Brownfield sites, because of their locations and associated infrastructure advantages, 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.

Where the Money Goes

The communities targeted for investment "have demonstrated a plan to leverage their grants and partnerships to achieve economic and environmental revitalization to meet their needs for jobs," Stanislaus said.

SoBRO

Battered by economic disinvestment and natural disasters, recipient communities have demonstrated "a high level of preparedness to undertake specific projects," the EPA said.

More than half of the communities have populations under 100,000. The grants will help transform brownfield sites into housing, recreational spaces and other "productive end uses which directly benefit community residents," he said.

More than 30 percent of the sites have been affected by plant closures, 40 percent by significant economic disruptions, and 42 percent by natural disasters, EPA said.

The city of Palatka, FL, for example, was declared an emergency area after the devastation of two tropical storms. It also suffered from the closing of a Georgia-Pacific paper towel manufacturing line and the lay-off of 130 employees from the regional water management company.

A new $400,000 assessment grant will support downtown and riverfront redevelopment plans in the town of 10,000.

EPA said the new round of funding advances its "broader commitment to making a visible difference in communities that focuses on better coordinating federal investments to help environmentally overburdened, underserved, and economically distressed communities address local priorities."

   

Tagged categories: Developers; EPA; Government; Government contracts; Renovation

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