EPA meets with federal agency partners in New Castle to discuss redevelopment
PHILADELPHIA (Sept. 3, 2020) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined federal partners today to meet with New Castle, Pennsylvania, city and Lawrence County Economic Development leadership and community leaders to discuss how EPA can assist the city in redevelopment of former Brownfields and sites in Opportunity Zones that had become tarnished from past industrial activity.
EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio, accompanied by New Castle City Mayor Chris Frye and Lawrence County Economic Development Director, Linda Nitch, also toured various blighted properties to see circumstances on the ground first-hand and to provide New Castle with EPA assessment assistance and expertise on redevelopment planning and implementation with regard to environmental considerations.
“Revitalizing a brownfields site, especially one in an Opportunity Zone, starts with understanding how the community’s site reuse goals align with local economic, infrastructure, social and environmental conditions,” said Servidio. “EPA can provide consultation and tools to assist New Castle in determining the best options for turning sites into productive, prosperous, job-creating enterprises.”
Nitch led a tour of four facilities in the New Castle area, which included the former Shenango China plant, the Grove Commons Limited Partnership Site, the U.S.C. Calley Club and the Temple Building Parking Lot, all in New Castle. The Shenango China site is currently being assessed for redevelopment using EPA funding to determine the extent and type of contamination and the next steps for stabilizing the property.
“Lawrence County has successfully utilized nearly $800,000 of EPA Brownfield Assessment Grants to return over 50 acres of land to productive commercial and industrial activities,” said Nitch. “We are grateful for the funding partnership we have had with the EPA and look forward to additional grant opportunities.”
The Grove Commons, Calley Club and Temple Building Parking Lot are all Brownfields sites located in Opportunity Zones – three out of a total of eight Brownfields in the New Castle area. Opportunity Zones were created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, wherein private investors can receive tax incentives for redevelopment in economically distressed communities, while also driving economic growth and supporting community revitalization. In these sites, Lawrence County and the city of New Castle have leveraged EPA funding to provide economic opportunity for residents, business growth and job creation.
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 and increased residential property values.
“Industry that made New Castle left long ago, but their remnants remain. New Castle is in desperate need of redevelopment” said Mayor Frye. “What I learned today is that the EPA supports such redevelopment especially in Opportunity Zones and that Opportunity Zones are a catalyst for reviving hope that something will change.”
For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields
For more information on Opportunity Zones, visit: https://www.epa.gov/opportunity-zones
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