Administrator Wheeler Tours Brownfields Sites Bringing Economic Revitalization to Springfield, Mo.
Springfield, Mo. (September 17, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler continued his trip in Missouri touring a series of Brownfields sites with EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford including the History Museum on the Square and Affordable Housing projects. With EPA Brownfields dollars, the City of Springfield is revitalizing their downtown and leveraging private sector investment for further economic opportunities in the community.
“Since 1999, Springfield has received nearly $7 million in EPA Brownfields grants and technical assistance and leveraged it into an additional $460 million in public and private funding for Brownfields redevelopment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This is one of the greatest returns on investment for our funding program in recent memory. Springfield is considered by many to be the ‘gold standard’ for its use of Brownfields programs, but we may need to upgrade them to a ‘platinum standard,’ given how much success they’ve had.”
“For many communities impacted by contamination, environmental cleanup is the first step toward economic revitalization,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “In Springfield we see the power of the Brownfields program, and its ability to transform sites from contaminated and dilapidated eyesores into community assets.”
From Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 to FY 2020, EPA selected 13 grants to a total of 10 grantees located in Missouri for a total of $4 million. All of the grants selected for organizations in Missouri can potentially spend their funding in an Opportunity Zone. The City of Springfield, Missouri has received more than $7 million in EPA Brownfield grants and technical assistance, leveraging an additional $460 million in public and private funding for redevelopment.
Specifically, Administrator Wheeler toured the History Museum on the Square, which used Brownfields Assessment and Revolving Loan Fund grants to remediate lead paint and asbestos; a former manufactured gas plant cleanup, which is using city funds to daylight a creek, add a greenway trail and trees, and promote Main St. commercial redevelopment; Jordan Valley West Meadows, which used Brownfields Assessment, Cleanup, and Revolving Loan Fund grants, Federal Rail Administration grants, and local funding to return it to its original wetlands state, which is the second largest stormwater retention project in Springfield, and new hiking trails are being added; Affordable Housing Project on Sherman Ave., which used Brownfields Assessment and Revolving Loan Fund grants and U.S. Housing and Urban Development grants to re-construct vacant, blighted single family homes and conduct lead and asbestos abatement; and the Fairbanks. The Fairbanks serves as a community hub that includes a recruitment center for the Workforce Development Job Training Grant Program, which has provided training for good jobs and the opportunity to make livable wages and earn certification in environmental fields.
Under President Trump, EPA has delivered approximately $287 million in Brownfields grants directly to communities and non-profits in need. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, 151 communities were selected to receive 155 grants totaling $65.6 million in EPA Brownfields funding through our Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants. Of the selected communities, 118 can potentially assess or clean up brownfield sites in census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones.