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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Brownfields Funding Announced for Jersey City, New Jersey

06/05/2019
Contact Information: 
Elias Rodriguez (rodriguez.elias@epa.gov)
212-637-3664

JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected 149 communities across the country including Jersey City, New Jersey, to receive funding for brownfield site revitalization to help local governments redevelop vacant and unused properties, transforming communities and local economies. EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan announced the grant at Berry Lane Park in Jersey City, for which some of the EPA Brownfield funding is slated. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Agency (NJDEP) Deputy Commissioner Debbie Mans, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Diana Jeffrey, and Executive Director of the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency joined EPA in the announcement.


“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.”

“With EPA’s Brownfields grants, communities can take contaminated, blighted properties and turn them into usable, environmentally and economically profitable land,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “We are thrilled to work with our state and local partners to fund under-served and disadvantaged communities cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties.”

“This funding will be significant in our plans to transform the Jersey City section of the Morris Canal Greenway, connecting our community with five other North Jersey counties, and providing a path with access to employers, educational resources, commercial and community centers,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “The grant will allow us to revitalize the historic pathway, make tangible changes, ultimately bolstering our transportation network and creating a lasting impact while preserving a historic asset in Jersey City.”

“These funds are the critical foundation that leads to the development of the Morris Canal Greenway,” said Diana Jeffrey, Executive Director of the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency. “The brownfield funding will positively impact Jersey City, as we use the funds to redevelop and clean the historic site, putting the property back into productive use and enhancing quality of life.”

“Cleaner environments create stronger communities,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Debbie Mans. “Throughout New Jersey, sites like these can become thriving assets that make their cities and neighborhoods safer and more enjoyable for everyone. We are pleased to share this commitment to revitalizing brownfields with the EPA.”

“Brownfields grants are an important source of funding to protect New Jersey’s public health, and they revitalize communities,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “With this smart economic investment, Jersey City will clean up parts of the Morris Canal so it can be enjoyed by bikers and pedestrians for generations to come.”

EPA has selected the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency for an $800,000 Brownfields Multipurpose Grant to assess hazardous waste sites, develop cleanup plans, and clean up sites along 8.5-miles of the Morris Canal. The proposed reuse plan is for a pedestrian and bicycle pathway traversing the entirety of Jersey City, through Berry Lane Park, and along the footprint of the historic Morris Canal. Grant funds also will be used to support community involvement activities and update a brownfields inventory of sites along the proposed path.

Of the 149 communities selected nationwide, 108 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. The grant to the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency will address Opportunity Zones in targeted areas.

Overview of the Funds Being Announced Today

The communities selected for brownfields funding this year include:

  • Geographically diverse set of communities:
    • 149 communities across the country in all 10 EPA regions.
  • Diverse types of communities:
    • 19% of selected proposals are in urban areas,
    • 81% of selected proposals are in non-urban areas (population of 100,000 or less),
    • 40% of the grants will go to the smallest of communities with populations of 10,000 or less.
  • And, new communities that have never received brownfields funding before:
    • 40% of selected communities are receiving brownfields funding for the first time.

Brownfields grants have been shown to increase local tax revenue and residential property values. 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.  Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfields sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.

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.

For a list of EPA’s brownfields program applicants selected for funding:

https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy19-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants

For Brownfields success stories, please see “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

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http://facebook.com/eparegion2.

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