Biden Administration Announces $6 Million to Tackle Polluted Brownfield Sites in Ohio
EPA announces eight Ohio grantees to receive funding to help build a better America while advancing environmental justice
CHICAGO (May 12, 2022) – Today, the Biden Administration through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded almost $6 million in Brownfields grants to assess or cleanup brownfields or to support revolving loan funds in communities across Ohio. Today’s grants are supported by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a total of $1.5 billion to advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization, and create jobs by cleaning up contaminated, polluted or hazardous brownfield properties.
Brownfield projects can range from cleaning up buildings with asbestos or lead contamination, to assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties that once managed dangerous chemicals. Once cleaned up, former brownfield properties can be redeveloped into productive uses such as grocery stores, affordable housing, health centers, museums, parks, and solar farms.
The Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. Approximately 86 percent of the communities selected to receive funding as part of today’s announcement across the nation have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.
“With today’s announcement, we’re turning blight into might for communities across America,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA’s Brownfields Program breathes new life into communities by helping to turn contaminated and potentially dangerous sites into productive economic contributors. Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are significantly ramping up our investments in communities, with the bulk of our funding going to places that have been overburdened and underserved for far too long.”
Today's announcement includes approximately $3.5 million from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help turn brownfield sites in Ohio into hubs of economic growth and job creation, along with almost $2.5 million from Fiscal Year 22 appropriations.
“EPA’s Brownfields grants are a great investment in Ohio’s future,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “One of the best ways we can build back better in Ohio is by revitalizing unused and contaminated properties and returning them to productive purposes in communities across the state.”
“The redevelopment of formerly contaminated brownfield sites is an opportunity for new growth for communities across Ohio,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. “These funds will help support revitalization efforts critical to the safety and economic success of our state.”
“This critical funding from the EPA will help to address environmental threats, improve safety, and revitalize local communities across Northeast Ohio,” said U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, even larger investments will be headed to Ohio in the years to come to clean up toxic sites, disproportionately located in Black neighborhoods, that are sources of blight and pollution.”
“Restoring the industrial and commercial properties that have long suffered from hazardous contamination is not only good for the environment, it’s good for the economy and neighborhoods,” said U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur. “Thanks to the bipartisan Jobs and Infrastructure Bill, we are growing our investments to breathe new life into the vacant and run-down sites that can house the companies and good-paying jobs of tomorrow.”
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will receive a $1,998,725 grant to conduct 32 environmental site assessments and develop four reuse plans, six cleanup plans, and two area-wide plans and to support community outreach activities. The target areas for this grant are the city of East Cleveland, the village of Bellaire, and the village of Newcomerstown, which are small, distressed communities in eastern Ohio. Priority sites include three parcels of vacant land that were former automobile repair shops, a former railroad yard, a former dry cleaner, and a former manufacturing site that now houses vacant structures and concrete slabs.
The Buckeye Hills Regional Council in Marietta will receive a $500,000 grant to inventory and prioritize brownfield sites and conduct 29 environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop three cleanup plans and two area-wide plans, and to support community outreach activities. The target areas for this grant are the Athens County Corridor and the Washington County Corridor. Priority sites include a 51-acre former municipal power plant that has been closed since 2012 and a former dry cleaner.
“Unfortunately, there are too many of these brownfield sites in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio, and I am glad our region was included in this year’s annual EPA appropriation,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson. “It’s important to repurpose sites like these for new, productive, economic growth uses. I’ve had the privilege of working with the Buckeye Hills Regional Council, and I am very familiar with the good work they do. I know they will put this grant to good use.”
“Through this community-wide assessment grant, Buckeye Hills Regional Council will be able to help our communities assess blighted areas, improve and protect the Ohio River, revitalize former industrial areas, and encourage the reuse of existing buildings,” said Buckeye Hills Regional Council Executive Director Misty Crosby. “This project will be a catalyst for communities in our region as they work to reinvent their economies and attract business to idle sites that will compliment local initiatives for community placemaking, eco-tourism, and trail development occurring throughout Southeast Ohio.”
The city of Galion will receive a $500,000 grant to update an inventory of brownfield sites and conduct 26 environmental site assessments. The city will also develop two cleanup plans and two site reuse assessments to support community outreach activities. Priority sites include two former elementary schools, one vacant and unused since 1980 and one demolished in 2008 and unused since.
“Like every small community, Galion has a number of abandoned properties and a need to identify and prioritize these sites,” said Galion Mayor Tom O’Leary. “Unlike many other communities, Galion now has a source of funding through the Brownfield Assessment Grant. We are very fortunate to be one of a few communities in the country which now has funding to assess local sites.”
The Lorain Port Authority will receive a $500,000 grant to update an inventory of brownfield sites and conduct 30 environmental site assessments. The Port Authority will also develop three cleanup plans and seven reuse plans to support community outreach activities. The target areas for this grant are the expanded Lorain Harbor Area-wide Planning Corridor in central Lorain and a 1,500-acre area property that includes hundreds of acres of vacant and underutilized former industrial properties along the Lake Erie waterfront. Priority sites include a 60-acre former slag stockpile yard, a 34-acre former truck transfer facility and oil company storage and transfer area, a 228-acre former landfill, and a 24-acre vacant former substation facility.
The Montgomery County Land Reutilization Corporation in Dayton will receive a $500,000 grant to identify and prioritize brownfield sites and conduct up to 50 environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop up to six cleanup plans and support community outreach activities. The target areas for this grant are the Wolf Creek Corridor in the city of Dayton, the Mad River Corridor in the city of Riverside, and the Stillwater River Corridor in Harrison Township. Priority sites include a 38-acre former tire and rubber factory that has been closed and abandoned since 1980, a 40-acre former construction and demolition debris landfill site, and a 200-acre former shopping plaza that has been closed since the 1990s.
“The Montgomery County Land Reutilization Corporation (MCLRC) is grateful for the opportunities this funding award provides to expand our impact in areas where blighted, abandoned brownfield sites have resulted in disinvestment,” said Montgomery County Commissioner and Land Bank Chair Carolyn Rice. “This funding will facilitate the MCLRC and communities transition of environmentally challenged sites into viable, marketable properties.”
The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency in Cleveland will receive a $1,000,000 grant to establish a revolving loan fund from which the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency will provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities. NOACA will also support community outreach activities. RLF activities will focus on Ashtabula Township, the city of Cleveland, the city of Lorain, the village of Chippewa Lake, and the village of Middlefield. Priority sites include the 1,000-acre Ashtabula Lakefront property, the former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park, a former foundry and heavy metal processing site, and a former rubber processor. The Agency’s coalition member is the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium.
“I am thrilled that NOACA will receive a Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Coalition Grant to help redevelop polluted and unused properties,” said U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce. “By helping remove hazardous materials and support critical cleanup efforts, this funding will go a long way in transforming a blighted property into a site for economic development and job creation. I’m proud to support this grant program as a member of the House Appropriations Committee and look forward to seeing this funding transform our local communities here in Northeast Ohio and support our regional economy.”
The city of Sandusky will receive a $500,000 grant to inventory sites and conduct 24 environmental site assessments. The city will also develop four cleanup plans, conduct two community visioning sessions, prepare one revitalization plan, and support community outreach activities. The target area for this grant is downtown Sandusky. Priority sites include former fueling stations, education facilities, dry cleaners, and former manufacturing facilities, including a 9,200-square-foot vacant former office building, and a 4-acre former marina office and boat service garage.
“The redevelopment of brownfield properties has been a key component of Sandusky’s transition from a legacy city to a thriving destination community on the Great Lakes,” said city of Sandusky City Manager Eric Wobser. New assessment grant funds from the EPA will allow us to continue our community’s historic comeback.”
The city of Toledo will receive a $500,000 grant to conduct 34 environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop six cleanup plans, three reuse plans, two market studies, and to support community outreach activities. The target areas for this grant are Toledo’s downtown district and the Detroit Rail Corridor area. Priority sites include a former bedding factory, a former dry cleaner, former industrial warehouses, four former industrial manufacturing sites, and a six-story vacant apartment building.
“The City of Toledo is grateful for its strong partnership with the US EPA,” said Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz. “We have accomplished so much for our residents with their continued support, including the redevelopment of hundreds of acres of land, the creation of new jobs and much needed investment in our urban core.”
The complete list of the applicants selected for funding nationwide is available on our Brownfields website.
Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s investments in brownfield sites have leveraged more than $35 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. For example:
- To date, this funding has led to more than 183,000 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment and more than 9,500 properties have been made ready for reuse.
- Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged on average $20.43 for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
- In addition, an academic peer-reviewed study has found that residential properties near brownfield sites increased in value by 5% to 15% as a result of cleanup activities.
- Finally, analyzing data near 48 brownfields, EPA found an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup—2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfield sites.
During the past 10 years, EPA has invested a total of $30,282,550 in Brownfields grants in Ohio communities. Those funds have been used to complete 903 assessments and 34 cleanups and prepare 318 properties for reuse. In addition, those grants have leveraged $1,030,825,260 and 3,945 jobs.
A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Redevelopment made possible through the program includes everything from grocery stores and affordable housing to health centers, museums, greenways, and solar farms.
The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on August 16-19, 2022 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing former commercial and industrial properties. EPA co-sponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Conference registration is open.
For more on Brownfields grants, visit our grant funding website.
For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program, visit our Brownfields website.