News Releases from Region 01
Economically Disadvantaged Communities in Maine Receive $1.1 Million to Redevelop Contaminated Properties
BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today selected 2 existing Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) recipients in Maine to receive a total of approximately $1.1 million in supplemental funding. The additional support will help the entities continue their work cleaning up contaminated brownfield properties.
The Brownfields RLF program supports EPA’s commitment to help environmentally overburdened communities address their local priorities. The funds will help communities reuse vacant and abandoned properties and turn them into community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, transportation options, infrastructure and commerce opportunities.
"These supplemental funds help provide communities with resources to help clean up contamination, and turn blighted land into opportunities that can generate jobs and spur economic growth," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
"These Brownfields grants are welcome news for our communities in Oxford, Kennebec, Waldo and Somerset counties and will help lay the groundwork for economic development, more jobs and continued stewardship of Maine's environment," said Congressman Poliquin. "I applaud the EPA for this important support and I will continue to push for sensible environmental policies, which are critical not only to our health and recreation, but also for job creation in our State."
RLF grants are often the last key piece of funding needed to make the cleanup and reuse of a brownfield property happen. They fund loans and sub-grants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. These supplemental funds are provided to communities with current RLF grants who have already achieved success in their brownfields work, and keep the momentum going.
The Kennebec Valley Council of Governments in Fairfield will receive $500,000 in supplemental funds, and the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission in Saco will receive $600,000 in supplemental funds.
"Kennebec Valley Council of Governments is sincerely grateful for the opportunity to continue our Brownfields program through supplemental funding. In our district of Kennebec, Somerset and western Waldo counties, our Revolving Loan Fund Program has enabled the reuse of a contaminated schoolhouse as a food hub, the development of a disused tannery as a small manufacturing space, the creation of new medical building on the site of a contaminated and deserted steel manufacturing business, and the creation of housing in a former hospital building," said executive director Rosie Vanadestine.
"The Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission (SMPDC) is deeply appreciative of the supplemental funding for our Revolving Loan Fund Program, which will enable us to continue with our active clean-up efforts in communities both large and small all over York and southern Oxford County. To date the funding has resulted in 18 loan and grant awards for clean-up, accounting for 140 new jobs created, 52 million in leveraged private and public sector dollars and 240 units of new housing. We look forward to continuing with these efforts," said executive director Paul Schumacher.
Former successful RLF communities have leveraged more than $6.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment investments and completed more than 657 cleanups. For example, RLF funds are being used to turn the Home Supply Center Warehouse site in Belfast, Maine into a 4-story, $4 million mixed-use redevelopment to include residential condominiums and commercial space. The project is located in the downtown commercial area and is expected to generate approximately 10 to 20 jobs.
There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States, and EPA brownfield grants are helping to make a visible difference in communities across the country. As of May 2017, more than 124,759 jobs and $24.3 billion of public and private funding has been leveraged.
On average, for every one EPA Brownfields dollar provided, $16.11 was leveraged. As for employment, on average, 8.5 jobs were leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
A recent national study has shown that cleaning up brownfields led to residential property value increases of 5 - 15.2% within a 1.24-mile radius of the site. (Haninger et al. 2017). Another study analyzing data near 48 brownfields found that an estimated $29 to $97 million in additional tax revenue is generated for local governments in a single year after cleanup. This is 2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfields.