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EPA Announces the Selection of 4 Communities to Receive $1,500,000 in Funding for Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup Grants to Address Contaminated Properties in the Indianapolis Area

06/05/2019
Contact Information: 
Rachel Bassler (Bassler.rachel@epa.gov)
312-886-7159

For Immediate Release: No. 19-OPA029

CHICAGO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that four communities have been selected to receive grant awards totaling $1,500,000 in EPA Brownfields funding through our Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities in opportunity zones and other parts of the country in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Forty percent of the communities selected for funding will receive assistance for the first time.

“These grants fulfill several of President Trump’s top priorities simultaneously: helping communities in need transform contaminated sites into community assets that not only create jobs and jumpstart economic development but also improve public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are targeting these funds to areas that need them the most. Approximately 40 percent of the selected recipients are receiving Brownfields grants for the first time, which means we are reaching areas that may previously been neglected, and 108 of the selected communities have identified sites or targeted areas for redevelopment that fall within Opportunity Zones.”

“Many communities are ready to move forward with redevelopment, they just lack the funding to get started,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp. “Our Brownfields grants can jump-start the process and provide much-needed support to begin the assessment and cleanup process.”  

The projects selected for funding include:

  • City of Indianapolis – to investigate and clean up environmental contamination at the Black Mountain property, which blights the Christian Park and Englewood neighborhoods. The Black Mountain site has a long history of industrial uses but is now covered with contaminated sands from Daimler-Chrysler foundry operations. Indianapolis intends to pursue the development of new housing, businesses and greenspace at the 12-acre site. This award marks the 13 Brownfield grant to Indianapolis. The city has investigated nearly 100 properties and cleaned up several others, including the former Malleable Castings site where 20 jobs were created $10 million was invested in the Lincoln Apartments to provide supportive housing for homeless veterans.
     
  • City of Kokomo – to investigate the environmental conditions of properties along Wildcat Creek as Kokomo continues to recover from declines in industrial employment, including jobs losses associated with the General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcies. Kokomo has received three previous Brownfield grants. Redevelopment at sites remediated with Brownfield funds resulted in private investment of nearly $32 million and created nearly 200 jobs associated with the cleanup work.
     
  • City of Lawrence – to investigate sites in economically-distressed South Lawrence to determine whether contamination exists to be remediated before the city can pursue redevelopment. This award marks Lawrence’s second Brownfield grant. Since 2015, 230 jobs have been created or retained and more than $29 million was invested at properties investigated with EPA funds.
     
  • City of Lebanon – to continue an environmental investigation of sites along Indianapolis Avenue. The city has conducted 25 environmental assessment at 11 different properties.

“We are thankful and honored to receive another grant from the EPA. We appreciate that the agency recognizes our commitment to redeveloping sites through our infill programs and remediation of brownfield sites,” said Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight. “We were able to leverage federal funds with the previous grants for significant private investment, and I am excited to be able to develop new projects with this grant.”

“Lawrence is proud of the manner in which it leveraged its prior EPA Brownfields grant into significant private investment and job growth through attraction of companies such as Mission Mechanical and Meyer Plastics,” said Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier. “We are honored by Region V’s selection of Lawrence and look forward to utilizing the new brownfields grant funding to further benefit the Lawrence community.”

“The City of Lebanon is thrilled to continue its partnership with the EPA, specifically, the agency’s Brownfield Grant Program,” said Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry. “The program has been an instrumental tool that we have been able to provide in out community, enhancing the city’s redevelopment efforts.”

Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfield 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 have been 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% following cleanup.

One hundred and eight communities selected for grants this year have identified sites or targeted areas in census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.

“I am truly excited to join as EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announces over $64 million in Brownfield funding,” said Scott Turner, Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. “The Brownfields grant program is a tremendous vehicle for bringing real revitalization and transformation to the distressed communities of America. As the Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council I am pleased that EPA continues to support the Council and the President’s work in this area. In fact, of the 149 communities selected for these grants, 108 will benefit communities with Opportunity Zones. I look forward to seeing the impact that these grants will have on neighborhoods and citizens across the country.” 

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. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. As of May 2019, under the EPA Brownfields Program 30,153 properties have been assessed, and 86,131 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use Brownfields grants to leverage 150,120 jobs and more than $28 billion of public and private funding.

In 2018 Congress reauthorized the statutory authority for the Brownfields Program. The reauthorization included changes to the program to expand the list of entities eligible for Brownfields grants, increase the limit of individual Brownfields cleanup grants to $500,000, and add grant authority for Multipurpose grants. These important changes will help communities address and cleanup more complex brownfield sites.

The 2019 National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on December 11-13 in Los Angeles, California. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties. EPA cosponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.

List of the FY 2019 Applicants Selected for Funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy19-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants.

For more on the Brownfields Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding.

For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields.

More on the 2019 Brownfields Conference: https://www.brownfields2019.org.

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