Cleanup complete at former charter school in Dinosaur, Colorado
EPA Brownfields funds help Town remove contamination, pave way for future use as a community center
Dinosaur, Colo.: The Town of Dinosaur, Colorado has completed cleanup of asbestos, lead-based paint, PCBs and mold at the former Dinosaur Community Charter School. EPA awarded the Town a $200,000 EPA Brownfields grant in 2019 to pay for the cleanup, paving the way for the renovation of the property into a community center.
“EPA Brownfields grants continue to help Colorado communities clean up and restore properties impacted by environmental contamination,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Deb Thomas. “It’s especially rewarding when our assistance helps transform a building that was once a burden into a cornerstone for community revitalization.”
At the Town’s request, EPA performed a Targeted Brownfields Assessment at the building in 2018, which identified the presence of contamination. The assessment led the way to an EPA Brownfields cleanup grant in 2019, which funded the removal of 12,000 square feet of asbestos, mold and lead-based paint from the building. The grant was also used to remove asbestos material in the deteriorating roof and build a new roof. With the contamination now removed, the Town intends to redevelop the property as a community center that will host various events, including holiday celebrations, Boys & Girls Club activities, summer school, meal programs, senior activities and a food pantry. The Town of Dinosaur has partnered with the University of Colorado’s College of Architecture and Planning for assistance with architectural drawings of the new community center.
“This EPA grant to clean up the school has been a bright light for the people of this community,” said Town of Dinosaur Administrator Larry Elarton. “With the building complete, community members have been able to envision community programs, night sky viewings, daycare amenities, community events and other functions that would have never been possible without this cleanup. We are now seeing again what is possible thanks to this partnership with EPA.”
The Town of Dinosaur is located in rural northwest Colorado and has a population of less than 350 people. Constructed in 1962, the Dinosaur Community Charter School closed in the early 2000s and was donated to the town in September 2016.
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. Since its inception in 1995, EPA's Brownfields Program has provided nearly $1.76 billion in grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return them to productive reuse. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. For example,
- To date, communities participating in the Brownfields Program have been able to attract more than $34.4 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding after receiving Brownfields funds. This has led to over 175,500 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment.
- Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged on average $20.13 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 15.2% 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.
For more on the Brownfields Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-epa-brownfield-grant-funding
For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields