News Releases from Region 08
$1.1 million for redevelopment projects in Cañon City, Florence, Lamar, and Pueblo, Colorado
EPA Brownfields grants to advance environmental assessment and property redevelopment
DENVER – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing communities in southeastern Colorado with $1.1 million in Brownfields grants to advance efforts aimed at cleaning up and revitalizing properties in Cañon City, Florence, Pueblo and Lamar. Fremont County will receive $600K to assess priority sites in Cañon City and Florence to support revitalization that will strengthen and diversity the local economy. The City of Lamar will receive $300K to assess properties along the City’s downtown core, including sites along the Arkansas River and the BNSF railroad corridor. The Bessemer Historical Society in Pueblo will receive $200K to clean up and restore the former Colorado Fuel and Iron Administration Building at E. Abriendo and Canal Street.
The Brownfields grant recipients are among 144 grant recipients across the nation receiving EPA Brownfields Environmental Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup grants. The 221 grants totaling $54.3 million will provide communities with funding to assess, clean up and redevelop underutilized properties while protecting public health and the environment.
“EPA’s Brownfields Program expands the ability of communities to recycle vacant and abandoned properties for new, productive reuses, using existing infrastructure," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These grants leverage other public and private investments, and improve local economies through property cleanup and redevelopment.”
“EPA Brownfields grants are helping Colorado’s communities restore blighted properties and create new amenities and economic opportunities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento. “EPA looks forward to helping our partners in Cañon City, Florence, Pueblo, and Lamar as they invest in the long-term vitality of their communities.”
Fremont County is receiving $600K in EPA Brownfields funds to complete environmental assessments at targeted properties in Cañon City and Florence. The County has convened a Brownfields coalition to examine priority areas and create new investment opportunities at abandoned industrial and commercial sites along the Arkansas River and Main Street in Cañon City and in historic downtown Florence. Contaminants of concern at these sites include petroleum compounds, metals, asbestos, and other hazardous substances.
“This is wonderful news for all of Fremont County,” said Fremont County Commissioner Debbie Bell. “Many affected properties throughout our communities are in a state of limbo, because owners don't have the funding on their own to complete these assessments. They don't know where they stand, so they don't know how to begin development. This grant will give them - and us - the information to roll up our sleeves and get to work. This is an incredible opportunity for economic development right here at home, which will move us all forward. Fremont County will deliver a coordinated approach to revitalizing priority brownfield sites, with a focus on addressing the significant socioeconomic challenges facing our community. Congratulations to our other coalition members, including Florence and Cañon City, and especially Fremont Economic Development Corp.”
The Bessemer Historical Society will use $200K in EPA Brownfields funding to address potential asbestos, lead and arsenic contamination on a five-acre property that includes the 24,000 square-foot historic Colorado Fuel and Iron Building. The CF&I building has been vacant since 1993 and is an important part of the history of the city. Once cleanup actions are completed, the Bessemer Historical Society will redevelop the structure for public access and community use as a Steelworks Museum that educates visitors on Pueblo’s rich history.
"Receiving this EPA grant is a major step in the process to be able to renovate the historic CF&I Main office building,” said Bessemer Historical Society Board President Doug Gradisar. “This building was built in 1901 as office space for CF&I and was the work place for hundreds of office workers for nearly a century. It is very exciting to be able to remove hazardous materials from this building and look forward to the next steps to create an expanded museum. We will be able to tell the stories of the men and women who worked in the mines, steel mill, YMCAs, company stores, hospital and the other CF&I related places. We appreciate the support of the EPA."
The City of Lamar will use $300K in EPA Brownfields funds as part of the City’s “Prairie Crossroads Project” to assess and eliminate public health risks and redevelop sites as part of a revitalized downtown commercial corridor. The City will conduct environmental assessments in a downtown target area that includes an abandoned coal plant, historic hotel, auto repair shops, gas stations and dry cleaners. Potential contaminants at these sites include petroleum compounds, heavy metals, asbestos, PCBs, and other hazardous materials.
The Brownfields Program targets communities that are economically disadvantaged and provides funding and assistance to transform contaminated sites into assets that can generate jobs and spur economic growth. A study analyzing 48 brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments in a single year after cleanup. This is two-to-seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites. Another study found that property values of homes located near brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between 5 and 15 percent post cleanup.
Communities can use EPA Brownfields funding to leverage considerable infrastructure and other financial resources. For example, EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund can be used to address the water quality aspects of Brownfield sites and the assessment and construction of drinking water infrastructure on brownfields, respectively. EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program may also serve as a potential source of long-term, low-cost supplemental financing to fund brownfields project development and implementation activities to address water quality aspects of brownfields.
List of the FY 2018 applicants selected for funding:
For more information on Brownfields grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields
For more information on how brownfields restoration has positively impacted local economies and the quality of life for neighboring communities: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-success-stories