EPA Awards MPCA $731,893 for State, Tribal Brownfields Program
St. Cloud, Minn. (September 28, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the award of $731,893 to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) brownfields program during a tour of brownfield cleanup sites in St. Cloud with Mayor Dave Kleis.
“Turning the former Technical High School into St. Cloud’s new City Hall is one of the best and most innovative uses of Brownfields funding I’ve ever seen,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Brownfields programs are often a catalyst for major redevelopment and from what I’ve seen here in St. Cloud, I can’t wait to see what next in store for the city.”
“EPA continues to invest in MPCA’s outstanding program to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites across the state and on tribal lands,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “The excellent work we’ve seen today in St. Cloud perfectly illustrates how returning brownfield sites to productive reuse can help boost the local economy and revitalize a community.”
“The Brownfields Assessment Grant program has provided the City and developers with vital information to foster redevelopment and investment in catalyst locations throughout the heart of the city,” said St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis.
Tour stops included 5th Avenue Redevelopment, the Former Tech High School, and the Cooper Avenue and Division Street Catalyst Site. To date, EPA funds totaling approximately $143,000 have been used for brownfield assessments at these three sites.
St. Cloud City Hall currently occupies a 90-year-old former school building at one corner of the primary intersection connecting historic downtown and St. Cloud State University. Private parties are prepared to redevelop City Hall and the adjacent blighted properties into mixed use projects at downtown densities. EPA Brownfields assessment grant funds have been utilized in this Opportunity Zone to assess site and building conditions requiring remediation or removal during redevelopment.
Plans to convert the 100-year-old former Technical High School into City Hall and retain the remaining campus for development and open space were recently finalized using EPA Brownfields assessment grant dollars have been utilized to determine the necessary remediation to the existing site and building during renovation. Re-use of the now vacant building will complement recent reinvestment in Lake George, the adjoining neighborhood, and historic downtown St. Cloud.
Each year, EPA provides $50 million to be shared among states, tribes and territories for programs to assess, clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. Today’s federal funding will go to MPCA’s State Superfund Program and its Voluntary Investigation Cleanup Program.
Over the past five years EPA has awarded Brownfield grants totaling more than $7 million to 11 communities and state agencies in Minnesota. Over that same time span EPA Brownfield funds have been used by Minnesota grantees to:
- Conduct 125 assessments
- Clean up 26 sites
- Prepare 52 properties for redevelopment
- Create or retain 2,986 jobs
- Leverage $180,201,509 for cleanup and redevelopment
Under President Trump, EPA has delivered approximately $287 million in Brownfields grants directly to communities and non-profits in need. In Fiscal Year 2020, 151 communities were selected to receive 155 grants totaling $65.6 million in EPA Brownfields funding through our Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants. Of the selected communities, 118 can potentially assess or clean up brownfield sites in census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones.