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City of Springfield, Missouri, Receives $300,000 in Supplemental Funding to Clean Up and Reuse Brownfield Sites

06/10/2020
Contact Information: 
Ashley Murdie (murdie.ashley@epa.gov)
913-551-7785

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EPA seal(Lenexa, Kan., June 10, 2020) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the city of Springfield, Missouri, is receiving $300,000 to clean up contaminated brownfield sites. Nationally, communities received approximately $6.9 million in supplemental funding for 25 current, successful Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (Revolving Loan) grantees.

The supplemental funds announced today are going to communities that have demonstrated success in using their Revolving Loan program to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. The funds will be used to continue their progress in reusing vacant and abandoned properties and turning them into community assets, such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, and commerce opportunities.

“Every community receiving additional funding today from EPA has Opportunity Zones within their jurisdiction, meaning these cleanup activities at local brownfield sites will not only address legacy contamination, but also spur new economic opportunities where they are needed most,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This supplemental funding supports the Trump administration’s commitment to reinvest in communities and provide opportunities by addressing properties with environmental challenges to improve human health and the environment.”

“When it comes to EPA’s Brownfields Program, our success relies on the power of partnerships between EPA, state, tribal and local leaders all working together to pave the way for community revitalization,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “The city of Springfield is a great example when it comes to showing how partnerships can advance the redevelopment and reuse needs of the community. For more than 20 years, the EPA Brownfields Program has supported the city’s efforts to continue transforming once vacant or distressed properties into new opportunities.”

“The EPA has a longstanding commitment to assisting communities in their efforts to clean up environmentally challenged properties,” said U.S. Representative Billy Long (MO-07). “The Brownfield Grants program has played a vital role in helping to revitalize underserved communities and stimulate economic development. The program works with local stakeholders to clean up and redevelop land that ultimately make our communities safer and better places to live. Since the program’s inception, these loans have funded over 750 cleanups and created nearly 45,000 jobs in total and have given cities the opportunity to enrich their communities without breaking the bank. I am proud to announce that Springfield has received a $300,000 brownfield grant, and I look forward to the improvements this grant will afford our community.”

"This additional $300,000 for our Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) will allow us to offer additional loans and subgrants to nonprofits to help pay for environmental remediation of properties to put them back into productive use for the community," said Mayor Ken McClure. "In Springfield, we are known for our ability to leverage public funds with private investments to achieve maximum benefit for our constituents, resulting in job creation and economic development. With longtime support from U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, our award-winning Brownfields Program has become a role model for the EPA since we began this partnership in 1999, and we appreciate the EPA's recognition of our success in selecting Springfield for this supplemental funding.”

“Brownfields incentives are often the first step in breathing new life into abandoned, contaminated and blighted properties,” said Olivia Hough, planning and development senior planner for Springfield. “Springfield’s long standing partnership with the EPA to fund environmental cleanups has resulted in far-reaching and long-lasting benefits to improve the health, safety and economic conditions in our community by removing hazardous waste, adding many acres of greenspace, creating jobs, and repurposing strategically located properties that utilize existing infrastructure and preserve cultural assets.”

During the past decade, the city of Springfield’s RLF Program has committed $2.2 million to nine cleanup projects, leveraging $58 million in investment. These projects have led to the revitalization of a local history museum, two affordable housing projects, Fairbanks Community Center, Jordan Valley West Meadows, and more.

All of the communities receiving supplemental funds have census tracks designated as federal Opportunity Zones within their jurisdictions. An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Most often, those who reside near these sites are low-income, minority and disadvantaged Americans. When coupled with leveraged funds, such as other Brownfield grants or Opportunity Funds, Revolving Loans can be a powerful tool for revitalizing a community of need.

When Revolving Loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned to the fund and lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community. To date, EPA’s Revolving Loan grantees across the country have completed 759 cleanups and attracted approximately 45,000 jobs and $8.4 billion in public and private funding.

Background

A brownfield is a property where the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S.

Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfields Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes, while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. Under President Trump, over 70% of the communities selected for Brownfields grants in 2019 were located in Opportunity Zones. Brownfields grants have been shown to:

  • Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfield sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated 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.
  • Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfield sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.

As of February 2020, under the EPA Brownfields Program, 31,516 properties have been assessed and 92,047 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use Brownfields grants to attract 160,306 jobs and more than $31 billion of public and private funding.

The 2021 National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on April 26-30, 2021, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties. EPA cosponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.

Learn more about EPA’s Brownfields Program. Learn more about Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grants. Learn more about Opportunity Zones.

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