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Release Date: 5/3/2002
Contact Information: Leo Kay, EPA Press Office, 415/947-4306, Susan McCue, Santa Rosa, 707/543-3059

     SAN FRANCISCO   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded Santa Rosa, Calif. a $1 million grant today that will allow local officials to clean up and revitalize underused, abandoned "brownfields."

     Santa Rosa's Office of Economic Development will use the revolving loan fund to address blighted properties in Railroad Square and the Gateway Redevelopment Area.  In particular, the city will focus on a proposed food and wine center it plans to build in a seven-acre portion of Railroad Square.

     "We are pleased to be able to bring some much-needed funding to clean up and redevelop parts of Santa Rosa," said EPA Regional Administrator Wayne Nastri.  "The revolving loan fund program offers a great opportunity for local agencies to spur economic development in areas that have high numbers of underused and abandoned properties."

     "This is exciting news! The funds allow us to address a long-standing problem and provide unique opportunity to move forward in showcasing Santa Rosa and Sonoma County's food wine heritage," said Santa Rosa Mayor Mike Martini. "This project will provide further stimulus to the successful businesses operating in historic Railroad Square.  Further, these monies go to supporting multi-modal transportation solutions. We are grateful to the EPA for this opportunity."

     Santa Rosa's grant is one of 23 being announced nationwide today that will allow state and local programs to provide no- interest or low- interest loans to businesses to carry out cleanup activities at Brownfields properties. Federal capitalization of these loan programs provides necessary resources that enable state and local governments to produce or leverage billions of dollars in other public and private sector funding to revitalize economically depressed communities.  

     To date, the EPA has awarded 143 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grants to 39 states and the District of Columbia totaling almost $91 million. For every dollar of federal money spent on Brownfields cleanup activities, cities and states  produce or leverage $2.48 in private investment.  The EPA's Brownfields program has leveraged over $4 billion in public and private investments that have turned abandoned industrial properties into thriving economic centers, useful recreational areas and beneficial open spaces.  
     For further information about the EPA's Brownfields program go to