The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the selection of 243 new grant investments totaling $54.3 million to 147 communities across the U.S. This investment will provide communities with funding necessary to assess, clean up and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment. Recipients will each receive approximately $200,000 - $600,000 in funding toward EPA cooperative agreements.
EPA's Brownfields grants provide resources early which is critical for the success of communities ability to leverage additional partnerships and resources. The community leaders - represented by local governments, states, tribes, quasi-governmental organizations, and non-profit entities have demonstrated strong partnerships and plan to leverage the EPA grants with other public-private investments. They use an inclusive process to help spur the redevelopment of vacant, former manufacturing and commercial sites for broader revitalization in their downtowns. This results in a transformed economy and environment while addressing poverty and economic distress.
"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. These communities have demonstrated a plan to leverage their grants and partnerships to achieve economic and environmental revitalization to meet their needs for jobs. These critical EPA resources are going into communities with populations ranging from 89 to 1.4 million, and more than half under 100,000. The grants will help transform brownfield sites, such as former manufacturing and mill sites, into productive end uses which directly benefit community residents and create opportunities including increased housing options, recreational spaces, and jobs.
Among the communities selected for funding, more than thirty percent have been affected by plant closures, forty percent by significant economic disruptions, and forty-two percent by adverse natural disasters. The small City of Palatka, Florida for example, was declared an emergency area following the devastation of two tropical storms, and has also suffered economically from the closing of Georgia-Pacific paper towel manufacturing line and the lay-off of 130 employees from the regional water management company. Being selected for a $400,000 assessment grant will allow this town of just over 10,000 residents to support their downtown and riverfront redevelopment plans and help restore the local economy.
This latest funding advances EPA s 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. Communities selected this year demonstrate a high level of preparedness to undertake specific projects as they have firm commitments of leveraged funds to move projects forward. An impressive forty-five percent of the recipients have secured public and private resources which directly align and further the efforts of proposed projects.
2015 Michigan Recipients
Alger County (Assessment) - $196,100
Detroit (Assessment) - $350,000
Downriver Community Conference, Southeastern Michigan (Assessment) - $500,00
Genesee County Land Bank Authority (Cleanup) - $200,000
Jackson County (Assessment) - $400,000
Lansing (Assessment) - $500,000
Muskegon Brownfield Authority (Assessment) - $400,000
Access the full press release here.
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