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EPA Announces $180K in Supplemental Funds to Clean Up and Reuse Brownfield Sites in Pawtucket

Funds are part of $6.9 million awarded nationwide

06/12/2020
Contact Information: 
David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)
(617) 918-1017

BOSTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing $180,000 in supplemental funding the City of Pawtucket, Rhode Island's Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). Pawtucket is among seven groups in New England selected to receive a total of $1.5 million in EPA funding.

The supplemental EPA Brownfields funding announced this week are going to communities that have demonstrated success in using their revolving loan funds to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. The supplemental 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.

"EPA Brownfields funding provides a much-needed boost for economic development and job creation in Pawtucket," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. "Pawtucket, along with the other groups selected to receive additional funds, has a proven track record of success. Awardees of this funding have redevelopment projects lined up and ready to go, putting businesses to work and transforming local communities. Covid-19 has impacted every corner of New England and these grants have never been more important to our local partners or local economies."

The City of Pawtucket is receiving $180,000 to recapitalize their loan fund from which they will provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities. This award will increase their loan fund to $1,180,000. Potential projects include former mills on Pine Street and the Conant Thread-Coats & Clark Mill complex, both in Opportunity Zones. Including other grant types in the past, the city has received a total of $3,380,000 in EPA Brownfields funding to date.

Pawtucket is among some of the communities receiving supplemental EPA Brownfields funds which have census tracks designated as federal Opportunity Zones within their jurisdiction. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien said, "We thank the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA Region 1) for awarding Pawtucket with $180,000 that enable the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency to grant and loan funds to qualified local sub-recipients that are engaging in environmental cleanup projects and/or the removal of hazardous building materials like asbestos and lead. Together, we will continue to work toward a cleaner and Greener Pawtucket."

"I would like to thank the Planning Dept. for seeking out and applying for these funds. The Board of Directors of the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency (PRA) is ready and willing to help the City of Pawtucket in any way it can to move the city forward. We will use these resources to continue to help bring environmental cleanup projects back to usable property that the city residents can be proud of," said Larry Monastesse, Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency Chairman.

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.

Additional Quotes Supporting This Action

"This federal funding will help protect public health and the environment and pave the way for future economic development and neighborhood revitalization," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), a member of the Appropriations Committee who successfully included $89 million for Brownfields cleanups in the fiscal year 2020 spending law.

"Redeveloping brownfield sites means a safer community, a healthier environment, and a boost for the local economy. Congratulations to Mayor Grebien for securing this federal funding to clean up contaminated former industrial lots," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

Congressman David Cicilline, who is helping lead the effort in the House to fund the Brownfields program next year, added, "It's more important than ever that the federal government provide the resources our cities and towns need to grow their economies. This is an important investment in Pawtucket's future. I look forward to seeing Mayor Grebien put them to use."

"EPA is an important partner in our work to promote healthy communities and revitalize brownfield sites, and we are excited that Pawtucket is receiving additional federal funding to support brownfields cleanup and community outreach activities," said R.I. Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit. "Under the leadership of Mayor Grebien, Pawtucket has been a leader in transforming former contaminated industrial sites into clean, productive spaces that generate jobs, spur economic growth, and connect the community. Kudos to our federal partners at the EPA for their continued commitment to brownfields restoration in Rhode Island and for providing supplemental funding to move these efforts forward."

Background

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. EPA's Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $1.6 billion in brownfield grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. To date, brownfields investments have leveraged more than $31 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding leveraged, from both public and private sources, more than 160,000 jobs.

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.

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