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EPA awards Defiance County Land Reutilization Corporation $475,000 to clean up former SK Hand Tool property

Part of $2.4 Million for Brownfields Cleanups in Ohio

05/06/2020
Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (arcaute.francisco@epa.gov)
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 20-OPA-045

DEFIANCE, Ohio – (May 6, 2020) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that the Defiance County Land Reutilization Corporation will receive $475,000 million to assess and clean up a contaminated property under the Agency’s Brownfield’s Program. Under President Trump’s Administration, EPA has delivered approximately $287 million in Brownfield grants directly to communities and nonprofits for cleanup and redevelopment, job creation, and economic development through the award of over 948 grants.

“These communities are ready to move forward with redevelopment, they just lacked the funding to take that next step” said EPA Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede. “EPA’s Brownfields grants help jumpstart the process by providing support for assessments and cleanups.”

“This funding is important to help clean up former industrial sites in Ohio,” said Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson. “These cleanups will help return these sites to productive use.”

“I am pleased that Administrator Wheeler has awarded these vital Brownfields grants to help clean up sites across Ohio so that they can be redeveloped for use in the future,” said U.S. Senator Rob Portman. “By working with state, local, and community partners, these grants will help create jobs and economic growth while also protecting the environment and public health in our communities.”

“The EPA’s Brownfields Program significantly helps revitalize local economies and protect the environment by transforming properties across the country that may be contaminated by hazardous pollutants,” said U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (OH-05). “Thanks to the EPA’s Brownfields Cleanup Grant awarded to the Defiance County Land Reutilization Corporation, we will be able to clean up and redevelop an abandoned manufacturing site. I am proud this grant will facilitate job creation, boost our local economy through economic development, support community outreach activities, and improve the quality of our environment.”

Nationwide, this year, the agency is announcing the selection of 155 grants for communities and tribes totaling over $65.6 million in EPA brownfields funding the agency’s Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant Programs. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities, including neighborhoods located in Opportunity Zones, in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Of the 151 total communities selected, 118 of these communities can potentially assess or clean up brownfield sites in census tracts designated in these zones. In addition, nearly 30% of the communities selected today will receive brownfields funding for the first time.

EPA also awarded $600,000 to the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, $800,000 to the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, and $600,00 to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, bringing a total of more than $2.4 million in federal brownfield funds to Ohio.

“The former SK Hand Tool site has been a top priority for the county and community for years, stalled by back taxes and lack of ownership,” said Dennis Miller of Maumee Valley Planning Organization. “Defiance County intends to remediate the site and redevelop for light use.”

The Defiance County Land Reutilization Corporation will use the EPA funding to clean up the former SK Hand Tool property at 135 Hickory Street. Previously home to a hand tool manufacturing plant, the site has sat vacant since 2010. It is contaminated with inorganic contaminants, manufacturing waste, and petroleum. Grant funds also will be used to support community outreach activities.

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% following cleanup.

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 United States.  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, from both public and private sources, leveraged more than 160,000 jobs.

The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on April 26-30, 2021, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing former commercial and industrial properties. EPA co-sponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.

List of the FY 2020 applicants selected for funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2020-brownfields-assessment-revolving-loan-fund-and-cleanup-0

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

For more information about EPA’s role in Opportunity Zones: https://www.epa.gov/opportunity-zones

For information on the studies related to the Brownfields Program’s environmental and economic benefits: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-program-environmental-and-economic-benefits

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