EPA Announces $860k in Supplemental Funds to Clean Up and Revitalize Brownfield Sites in Vermont
Funds are part of $11.6 million awarded nationwide
BOSTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing $860,000 in supplemental funding for three current successful Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grantees in Vermont. The Vermont recipients are among nine groups in New England selected to receive a total of $3.35 million.
The recipients of Brownfields RLF funding in Vermont are the Mount Ascutney Regional Commission ($330,000), the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development ($330,000), and the Northwest Regional Planning Commission ($200,000).
The supplemental funds announced today 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 revitalizing 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 Vermont, and in many of New England's hardest hit and underserved communities," said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro. "The partners we are recognizing today have been selected to receive additional funds, thanks to their proven track record of success. These groups have redevelopment projects already 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."
"Many of the brownfields cleanups supported by EPA's Revolving Loan Funding are in economically disadvantaged communities where environmental cleanup and jobs are needed most," said Carlton Waterhouse, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management. "This supplemental funding will help sustain and increase the great progress these communities have made in cleaning up brownfields sites, while also helping them become stronger, healthier, and more economically competitive."
The Mount Ascutney Regional Commission is receiving $330,000 to recapitalize their loan fund from which they will finance cleanup activities. This award will increase their current loan fund to over $1.5 million. Potential projects will focus on cleaning up sites in the Windsor County area, such as the Parks and Woolson Mill Site and the Park Street School in Springfield and the 22 Depot Avenue Site in Windsor. Including its other grants in the past, the commission will have received a total of $5.68 million in EPA Brownfields funding by the end of this year.
"These supplemental funds could not be timelier for our region. High priority sites in historic downtown Springfield and Windsor and a small business venture in the Village of Perkinsville have recently completed assessment and are ready for cleanup. This funding will be used to move these projects forward with remediation and redevelopment which will help to stimulate the local economy by either creating jobs, providing housing, or creating valuable green space," said Thomas Kennedy, Executive Director of the Mount Ascutney Regional Commission.
The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development is receiving $330,000 to recapitalize their loan fund from which they will finance cleanup activities. This award will increase their current loan fund to over $3.3 million. Potential projects include high-profile sites in communities throughout the state, such as 453 Pine Street in Burlington, the Yellow Barn Site in Hardwick, and the Berwick Hotel in Rutland. Including its other grants in the past, the agency will have received a total of $6.3 million in EPA Brownfields funding by the end of this year.
"It is with deep gratitude that the Brownfield Revitalization Fund accepts this EPA Supplemental Funding. Now, more than any other time in our recent history, Vermont is keenly focused on remediating and redeveloping these blighted, vacant and/or underutilized properties. We are grateful for our long-standing partnerships with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Environmental Conservation – Brownfields Team, the Regional Development Corporations, and the Regional Planning Commissions that buildout the network and provide additional resources to continue this critical work," said Lindsay Kurrle, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
The Northwest Regional Planning Commission is receiving $200,000 to recapitalize their loan fund from which they will finance cleanup activities. This award will increase their current loan fund to over $1.9 million. Potential projects will focus on old mill sites and other projects in northwestern Vermont communities, such as the Fonda Site in St. Albans, the 113 Maine Street Site in Richford, and the Enosburg Armory Site in Enosburg. Including its other grants in the past, the commission will have received more than $4 million in EPA Brownfields funding by the end of this year.
"The Northwest Regional Planning Commission is grateful to the U.S. EPA for the supplemental RLF award of $200,000. The award will support NRPC in its continued effort to revitalize communities in Franklin and Grand Isle Counties through brownfields cleanup and redevelopment," said Catherine Dimitruk, Executive Director of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission.
Brownfield RLF grants enable funding for communities to provide loans and sub-grants for cleanup activities at brownfield 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 794 cleanups and attracted approximately 48,000 jobs and $16.2 billion in public and private funding. Today's supplemental funds will help communities keep the cleanup momentum going so that more cleanups can be completed.
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee said: "I am so pleased to again see Vermont organizations receive substantial and important funding through the EPA Brownfields Program. The Brownfields Program provides helps to focus economic activity and growth in towns and cities while remediating contamination and restoring historic properties. Vermonter's know a winning program when they see it and they prepare strong applications for every round, as the Mt. Ascutney Regional Commission, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and the Northwest Regional Planning Commission have done this year. I will do everything that I can to see that the EPA Brownfields program receives the funding needed to continue this good work in future years."
"I am proud of Vermont's continued success in securing federal brownfields funding. This is testament to the good work of state and regional partners, who have a strong track record of putting these dollars to good use in communities across Vermont. I congratulate Mount Ascutney Regional Commission, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and Northwest Regional Planning Commission on these awards and thank them for helping to revitalize our towns and rural economies. As a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which has oversight of the EPA, I will continue to work to ensure the federal Brownfields Program receives the support and funding needed to continue this important work," said U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.
"These important EPA brownfields grants will help with the cleanup needs of communities across Vermont," said U.S. Congressman Peter Welch. "This money will begin the next chapter for these contaminated sites, create jobs for Vermonters, and help revitalize local downtowns."
"The EPA's Revolving Loan Fund helps local organizations and business entrepreneurs clean up contaminated land and breathe new life into these properties. Because of the additional financing being announced today, these three entities will be able to continue doing this important work to restore our land and strengthen our communities," said Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Peter Walke
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 1995, EPA's Brownfields Program 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, these brownfields investments have leveraged more than $34.5 billion in cleanup and redevelopment in communities across the country. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding has leveraged, from both public and private sources, more than 176,800 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.
EPA's Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
EPA's Brownfield Investments in New England communities: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-and-land-revitalization-region-1
EPA's Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields