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Release Date: 3/24/1997
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1588

     (San Francisco) -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Fred Hansen today awarded $100,000 to the city of Oakland to help in the redevelopment of the Fruitvale Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Village brownfields project in south  Oakland. Brownfields are abandoned or under-used industrial areas.

     "We're excited about giving this grant to help Oakland create the Fruitvale Bay Area Rapid Transit Village in the heart of this diverse community," said Hansen. "The work needed here could not be done without the dedication and hard work of the Spanish Speaking Unity Council and all of those who have contributed to the plans for redevelopment of this area.

     "The transit village is truly a stunning example of the type of community-based projects which we have been trying to encourage in other brownfields sites throughout the country. Environmental cleanup can bring life and strength to a community through jobs, an enhanced tax base, and vision for the community's future," added Hansen.

     "This brownfields grant award will assist Oakland in taking a tangible steep forward in the development of the Fruitvale transit village, as well as other key under-utilized sites in east Oakland and the central business district," said Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris.
     Last year, Oakland was selected by U.S. EPA as a Brownfields Pilot Project, and the city was awarded a $100,000 grant for help in returning other contaminated industrial sites in Oakland to thriving, productive use.

     Both grants will be used as catalysts for the redevelopment of three Oakland neighborhoods. The Fruitvale BART Transit Village project is designed to revitalize the Fruitvale BART neighborhood with shops, offices, and housing in a pedestrian-oriented setting. The transit village will be constructed on about 24 acres around the Fruitvale BART station.

     The $100,000 grant awarded last year is being used to help in the redevelopment of a two-acre site in the city's Central District Redevelopment Area and a 17-acre site in east Oakland's Coliseum Redevelopment Area.

     Activities planned as part of the Oakland's Brownfields Pilot Project will be reviewing existing data on the three sites and completing assessments of the type and extent of contamination at the sites; completing surveys, plans and summary reports; and developing cleanup plans and cost estimates.

     Brownfields are former industrial and commercial properties where redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. President Clinton's Brownfields Action Agenda -- initiated two years ago -- encourages redevelopment of these properties and discourages the siting of industrial sites in more rural, pristine areas. The initiative also addresses the concerns prospective developers have about inheriting cleanup liability for property.

     Oakland is one of 78 cities nationwide that U.S. EPA has selected to participate in pilot redevelopment projects. The city will receive the funding over a two-year period.

     Under Oakland's pilot project, communities and developers will continue to work together to restore the abandoned sites, thereby creating new jobs and economic growth, increasing property values and stimulating tax revenues. All of U.S. EPA's pilot projects feature cooperative efforts between diverse community groups, investors, lenders, developers, regulators and other interested parties.

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