The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the selection of 218 new grant investments totaling $55.2 million to 131 communities across the U.S. Recipients will receive approximately $200,000 – $820,000 in funding toward EPA cooperative agreements.
The Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup (ARC) grants go to communities that are underserved and economically disadvantaged, including neighborhoods where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed.
At an event at a former brownfield site in Burlington, Vermont, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said: “These grants will empower communities to transform idle, languishing lands into vibrant hubs for business, jobs, and recreation. It’s all about providing that initial funding, and sparking that first conversation to set stalled sites on a path toward smart, safe redevelopment that directly benefits communities.”
EPA’s Brownfields Program strives to expand the ability of communities to recycle vacant and abandoned properties for new, productive reuses. The investments will provide communities with the funding necessary to assess, clean up and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment.
Brownfields ARC grants provide resources early on, which is critical for the success of communities’ abilities to leverage additional partnerships and resources. Partnerships between neighborhoods, local developers and governments are essential for impacted communities to acquire the resources needed to meet their revitalization goals.
Approximately $14 million of the assessment and cleanup funding will go to applicants who are also EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning grant recipients and Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)/Dept. of Transportation (DOT)/EPA partnership communities.
Funding will help communities clean up and reuse brownfield sites to create community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, employment, education, social services, transportation options, infrastructure and commerce opportunities.
For example, Dubuque, Iowa’s new $200,000 cleanup grant will address contamination at the Blum property, a former scrap yard and recycling facility, and will lead to the development of a pocket park for residents of the distressed Washington Neighborhood within Dubuque.
In addition to the benefits gained by creating more community spaces, this funding will also build upon Dubuque’s 2010 DOT TIGER grant and 2015 EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning grant which support the revitalization of the Washington Neighborhood.