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EPA Awards $1.3 Million to Mid-Atlantic Redevelopment Projects

Release Date: 5/20/2002
Contact Information: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548

Contact David Sternberg (215) 814-5548
PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh announced today that EPA has awarded a total of $1.3 million to seven brownfields redevelopment projects throughout the mid-Atlantic states as part of the agency’s Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative.

Brownfields are abandoned, idled or under-used industrial or commercial properties where expansion or redevelopment is hindered by real or perceived environmental contamination.

“EPA’s site assessment grants expand the Administration's efforts to transform underutilized sites across the country, turning neighborhood eyesores into community assets,” said Welsh, administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “Using EPA seed money, communities are breathing new life into dormant properties, rebuilding their tax bases and generating employment for their residents.”

Projects receiving awards today are: Ambridge Borough, Pa., Winchester, Va., and Kanawha County, W. Va. Pre-existing EPA pilots receiving supplemental Agency funding to continue their successful redevelopment efforts are: Bucks County, Pa., Duquesne, Pa., Johnstown, Pa., and Newport News, Va. A total of 80 such awards totaling $14.5 million are being awarded nationwide by EPA today.

Projects that received site assessment grants today:

Ambridge Borough, Pennsylvania ($200,000) - The borough will use the assistance to prioritize and target brownfields, conduct site assessments, and initiate community-based neighborhood planning to encourage redevelopment of a historic district that has been negatively impacted by the declining industrial economy.

Winchester, Virginia ($250,000) - The city plans to use the assistance to target brownfields, prepare cleanup plans, and create public forums to involve community stakeholders in the redevelopment process. The pilot is also using funding to redevelop abandoned and underused properties including a former lumberyard and power substation into recreational areas.

Kanawha County, West Virginia ($200,000) - The county plans to create an inventory of brownfields in a 24-square-mile targeted watershed area, prioritize the sites, and involve local community members in the redevelopment process in an area where the perception of contamination from former coal mining is driving away residents and stifling new investment.

Pilots that received EPA’s supplemental funding awards for demonstrating success with applying previous EPA funding towards redevelopment projects are:

City of Duquesne, Pennsylvania ($150,000) - With this supplemental assistance, the city plans to expand on its current efforts to redevelop properties in and around the Monongahela Valley. Specifically, the City of Duquesne has targeted a 20-acre site along the Youghiogheny River, and the 2.5-acre Glassport Industrial site to assess for redevelopment potential.

City of Johnstown, Pennsylvania ($200,000) - The city plans to update the citywide inventory of potential brownfields, assess high priority sites, identify cleanup alternatives resulting from the assessments, and involve community members in the redevelopment efforts at these targeted sites. With its funding, the city will also assess an area next to the Johnstown’s War Memorial Arena for construction of a new veterans’ park and memorial plaza.

City of Newport News, Virginia ($150,000) - The city plans to update its inventory of brownfields and involve community members in the redevelopment process, as well as target and assess at least three major sites in the Victory Arch Brownfields Initiative Target Zone area in the oldest section of Newport News.

Bucks County, Pennsylvania ($150,000) - With this supplemental assistance, the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority will update its brownfields inventory. The authority will then assess, acquire and clean up those brownfields that the community and the county have identified as being most important to the revitalization of the area.

In addition to today’s assessment grants, EPA’s Brownfields program also funds state and local governments through revolving loan and job training pilots.

In January 2002, President George W. Bush signed the groundbreaking Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act into law at the former Schuylkill Iron Works, now the Millenium Corporate Center, in Conshohocken, Pa.

The law will significantly expand the current program and double EPA brownfields funding by fiscal year 2003. It also provides liability protection for prospective purchasers and authorizes increased funding for state and local programs that assess and clean up brownfields.

According to an independent study conducted by the Council for Urban Economic Development, brownfields revitalization has created more than 22,000 permanent jobs and leveraged $2.48 in private investment for every $1 spent by federal, state, or local
governments. To date, EPA’s Brownfields program has leveraged over $4 billion in public and private investments that have turned abandoned industrial properties into thriving economic centers, recreational areas and beneficial open spaces.