EPA at 50: Transforming and Revitalizing Communities by Cleaning Up Brownfields; Grant to Northampton County will boost redevelopment
PHILADELPHIA (July 15, 2020) — This week, as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 50th anniversary commemoration, the agency announced $375,000 in supplemental Brownfields Revolving Loan Funding (RLF) to the County of Northampton, Pennsylvania. The $375,000 in new funding supplements a $650,000 RLF grant originally awarded to Northampton County in 2012, bringing the total RLF funding to the County to $1.3 million. The funds are part of $8.8 million awarded nationwide this year.
“EPA is proud to provide Brownfields funding which gives a much-needed boost for economic development and job creation, turning contaminated sites into community assets,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Northampton County has a proven track record of success, and redevelopment projects ready to go to put people back to work and increase local tax revenue.”
Northampton County is receiving $375,000 to recapitalize their loan fund from which they will provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities. Possible projects include the Easton Iron and Metal site where redevelopment of the site would create a new hub between the Simon Silk Mill site, Lafayette University and downtown Easton, as well as the former Dixie Cup site, also in Easton, which would be developed into a mixed residential and commercial/retail space.
Previous funding under the RLF in Northampton County was awarded to the Green Knights Economic Development Corporation to cleanup a used tire dump and tire fire area to create the new Green Knights Industrial Park in Wind Gap, PA.
Recipients of EPA’s Brownfields RLF funding provide low-interest loans and sub-grants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfields sites. When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community. To date, EPA’s RLF grantees across the country have completed 759 cleanups and attracted approximately 45,000 jobs and $8.4 billion in public and private funding.
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. For example, brownfields grants are shown to:
- Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfields 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 brownfields sites increased between 5 and 15 percent following cleanup.
Brownfields funds assess and cleanup vacant, underused and potentially contaminated properties so that property can be reused as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, and commercial sites. Brownfields revitalization means investing in the redevelopment of existing properties in our communities rather than promoting new developments on the outer fringes of metropolitan areas.
More information is available at:
EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields
EPA Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
Follow us throughout July on Twitter @EPALand for the latest information on what’s happening as “Cleaning Up America’s Land” month continues.
For more on EPA’s 50th Anniversary and how the agency is protecting America’s waters, land and air, visit: https://www.epa.gov/50, or follow us on social media using #EPAat50.