EPA awards Colorado Springs $600K to advance the cleanup and redevelopment of properties in Fountain Creek, Shooks Run Creek corridors
Brownfields grant to support Legacy Greenway and create new economic opportunities in Colorado Springs and Fountain
DENVER - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding a coalition led by the City of Colorado Springs a $600,000 Brownfields assessment grant to advance the revitalization of properties in the Shooks Run Creek Corridor and the Fountain Creek Corridor. Coalition partners include the City of Fountain, Colorado Springs School District #11, and Colorado Springs Utilities. The City is among 149 communities selected to receive grant awards totaling $64,623,553 million in EPA Brownfields funding through our Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) grant programs.
EPA has selected the City of Colorado Springs for a Brownfields Assessment Coalition grant to complete environmental assessments and cleanup plans for properties along two connected corridors centered on the 4-mile Shooks Run Creek Corridor and the 6-mile Fountain Creek Corridor in Colorado Springs, Fountain and small unincorporated communities.
“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.”
“Our coalition partners have developed a comprehensive plan to address contamination concerns and deliver new recreational and economic opportunities for the residents of Colorado Springs and the City of Fountain,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “We look forward to seeing these areas revitalized as integral parts of the Legacy Loop and neighborhood business districts.”
Brownfield redevelopment in these areas is critical to completing the highly-anticipated Legacy Loop, a 10-mile landmark that connects a regional web of trails and parks around downtown Colorado Springs, and removing blight to spark economic, environmental and public health improvements. Properties to be assessed include vacant and underused construction storage yards, automobile and agricultural facilities, and commercial and industrial buildings.
“Shooks Run is a city asset and a critical part of our community. This investment of federal dollars will positively impact property values, contribute to improved quality of life and facilitate future development opportunities along our natural corridors. Together with our coalition partners, we can continue to addresses critical improvements to an aging infrastructure, help infuse dollars into one of our federal Opportunity Zones, and continue our work to implement the Envision Shooks Run Master Plan,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers.
Coalition partners will form an advisory committee of neighborhood associations and community stakeholders to evaluate several high-priority brownfields sites, including Camper’s Village, a former campground, and the Doxey Site, a former concrete asphalt, paving and auto maintenance shop. Both properties are adjacent to creeks and within the federally-designated 100-year floodplain. In addition, several underused and potentially contaminated sites owned by Colorado Springs School District 11 have been identified as opportunities for redevelopment as trailhead facilities and other neighborhood amenities. Other priority sites include brownfields in the Olde Town Gateway District at the southern entrance to the City of Fountain.
Potential contaminants on these properties include solvents, metals, ammonia, lead, asbestos, petroleum compounds, and agricultural chemicals.
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. 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.
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.
List of applicants selected for funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy19-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants
EPA booklet: “Brownfields: Properties with New Purpose, Improving Local Economies in Communities with Brownfield Sites” https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-06/documents/bf_booklet.pdf
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