EPA Awards East Tennessee Development District $600,000 a Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (May 20, 2021) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the East Tennessee Development District as the recipient of a $600,000 Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant. This funding will help communities in northeastern Tennessee assess and clean up contaminated and abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Grant funds also will be used to develop five cleanup plans and support redevelopment planning and community outreach activities.
“EPA’s Brownfields funding has a proven track record of transforming communities and turning abandoned and contaminated sites into true public assets,” said Carol Monell, EPA Region 4 Acting Deputy Regional Administrator.” “We commend the East Tennessee Development District and community leaders for your efforts to address and improve the environmental, public health, economic and social impacts associated with contaminated and abandoned sites, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of this collaboration.”
“Assisting rural and distressed areas is a top priority for TDEC, so we are encouraged to see this type of assistance coming to the region,” TDEC Deputy Commissioner Greg Young, said. “I often say that at TDEC, we are not just a regulator; we are a resource. We were proud to be a resource for the East Tennessee Development District in the application process for this grant, and we look forward to the results it will produce for the communities and our environment in the future.”
“I would like to thank the EPA for its confidence in East Tennessee Development District in awarding our region with this Coalition Brownfield Assessment Grant,” said Rick Yakubic, Executive Director of East Tennessee Development District. “This grant is an important step to return these sites to productive uses since many of the Brownfield sites are either abandoned, underutilized, and/or contaminated. When selecting these sites, we targeted opportunity zones and distressed areas where we could make a big economic impact. We look forward to working with our coalition partners: Scott County, The City of Rocky Top, The City of Morristown, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and all the community stakeholders who will be involved in this revitalization effort.“
“Being awarded the EPA Brownfield grant is undoubtedly the best economic development news Scott County has received in a decade,” said Jeff Tibbals, Mayor of Scott County. “Developing industrial properties is essential to the future of economic success in Scott County, and this funding could be the key to bringing Scott County out of the ARC designation of 'Distressed'. I cannot possibly thank the EPA enough to relay my appreciation for their decision to fund this project.”
“The City of Rocky Top is grateful to EPA for this funding opportunity and for the opportunity to explore potential new developments on dilapidated and long-vacant sites within our city,” said Michael Foster, City Manager of Rocky Top. “We look forward to working with the East Tennessee Development District and the other coalition partners to enhance the environmental security of our region.”
Assessment activities will focus on distressed areas within Scott County, Roane County, the City of Morristown, and the City of Rocky Top, which are the applicant’s coalition partners. Priority sites include a former auto salvage yard and an adjacent abandoned concrete plant in Rocky Top; a former truck terminal and maintenance garage in Morristown; and a former auto parts manufacturer and an abandoned grocery store in Roane County.
Statewide, EPA selected three communities to receive grant awards totaling $1.5 million in Brownfields funding through its Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grants. Campbell County and Dunlap, Tennessee will also receive $600,000 and $300,000 to conduct site assessments. To date 33 grants have been issued to TN communities since 2006, equaling over $11 Million in grant funding that has resulted in over $300 million in redevelopment. This year, 37 grants totaling over $14 million will go to organizations or communities across the eight southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
For more on the Brownfields Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-epa-brownfield-grant-funding
For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields