EPA Selects Five Projects in Kentucky to Receive $1.7 Million for Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 11, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced five grant recipients in Kentucky have been selected to receive awards totaling $1.7 million to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency’s Brownfields program. Recipients include the City of Louisville ($300,000), the City of Frankfort ($300,000), Middlesboro Main Street ($500,000), Kentucky River Area Development District ($300,000) and the Northern Kentucky Area Development District ($300,000).
“These grants will provide the selected communities in Kentucky with resources to clean up contaminated lands and return them to productive use,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “Overall, Brownfields funding provides communities with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that will attract jobs, encourage partnerships and achieve economic benefits.
“I want to commend the EPA for awarding the Brownfields Assessment Grant to the City of Frankfort to conduct environmental site assessments within their community,” said Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06). “This is an excellent opportunity to engage their citizens in a cleanup plan to revitalize and repurpose areas throughout Frankfort.”
“These awards will provide much-needed funding to help Kentucky and the ongoing revitalization of one of the most historic and culturally-rich parts of our city in the heart of West Louisville,” said Congressman John Yarmuth (KY—03). “I’d like to thank the Environmental Protection Agency for understanding this need and for making an investment in a safer, healthier, and more environmentally sound Commonwealth. This is a shining example of government coming together at all levels—local, state, and federal—to address the needs of communities working toward a stronger future, and I’m glad to be a part of this effort.”
“These grants will enable these Kentucky communities to assess the cost and steps needed to reuse contaminated properties, which will stimulate economic development, protect the environment and improve the lives of the people living in these communities,” said Kentucky Environment and Energy Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman.
The Kentucky grantees are among 155 grants that will be awarded 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 communities selected this year, 118 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.
The grant recipients in Kentucky include:
The Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government will receive a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 14 Phase I and seven Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to prepare four cleanup plans, update and maintain the existing inventory of brownfield sites, conduct community outreach activities, and pilot-test the Brownfield Community Benefit Assessment Toolkit. Assessment activities will target the 30th Street Corridor in Louisville, which is located partly within a Qualified Opportunity Zone. Priority sites include the Madison Street Warehouse, former Sypris Technologies vacant campus, and the Former 3B Barrel property.
“Thank you to the EPA for this grant,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “The assessment of blighted industrial sites along the 30th Street corridor is an important next step in moving Louisville toward its goal of revitalizing the Russell neighborhood and improving the health and quality of life for its residents. In addition to bringing new businesses, jobs and retail options, returning these properties to use will support the other transformational development being done as part of the Russell Choice Neighborhoods grant.”
The City of Frankfort will receive a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct nine Phase I and six Phase II environmental site assessments and conduct cleanup planning activities. Grant funds also will be used to develop a community engagement plan, host quarterly meetings with neighborhood groups, and develop newsletters and fact sheets. Assessment activities will focus on the city’s Holmes Street Corridor, Capital Plaza Area, and Riverfront neighborhood, all of which are located within a Qualified Opportunity Zone. Priority sites include a 2.5-acre former lumberyard and plastics factory, a 3.2-acre waterfront property that served as a barge facility and sandlot, and a deteriorating YMCA facility.
“The City of Frankfort is excited to partner with the EPA Brownfield program once again,” said Mayor William I. May, Jr. “The Assessment funding will help Frankfort support its citizens and developers as we move forward to revitalize our community. The partnership with EPA is an extraordinary opportunity that will help restore underutilized buildings and property while improving our quality of life. We would like to thank the EPA for selecting Frankfort as a 2020 Brownfield funding recipient.”
The Northern Kentucky Area Development District will receive a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 12 Phase I and six Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to prepare a brownfields inventory, develop three cleanup plans, and conduct community outreach activities. The Cities of Covington and Newport, which include Qualified Opportunity Zones, are the focus of this Assessment Grant. Priority sites include the former Newport Steel and Ludlow Incinerator properties.
“The Northern Kentucky Area Development District (NKADD) is excited to continue its partnership with EPA to revitalize brownfields throughout our region,” said Lisa Cooper, Executive Director. “The EPA Brownfields program has allowed the NKADD and our partners to reinvest in these underutilized sites and return them to viable businesses, residences, and recreational areas that also better the health and vitality of our environment. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue these efforts within our communities.
Middlesboro Main Street will receive a $500,000 Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to inventory sites and conduct 20 Phase I and 14 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop three cleanup plans and support community outreach activities. Assessment activities will focus on the Cities of Pineville and Middlesboro, which contain several brownfields from historic coal and textile industry use. Priority sites include a former textile mill adjacent to downtown Middlesboro, an abandoned theater in downtown Middlesboro’s Qualified Opportunity Zone, and a vacant bakery site in Pineville’s downtown gateway. Coalition partners are Bell County and the City of Middlesboro.
“We are very pleased to have received this assessment grant and feel that it will have a significant impact on the revitalization of some of our most historic buildings,” said Mayor Rick Nelson.
The Kentucky River Area Development District will receive a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 15 Phase I and eight Phase II environmental site assessments and inventory and prioritize brownfield sites. Grant funds also will be used to develop five cleanup plans and support community involvement activities. Assessment activities will focus on the Downtown Historic Business District in the City of Hazard, which is located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone. The district has over 20 documented abandoned or underutilized properties that create blight, including a former department store, a vacant three-story former bank building, and an abandoned station with four fuel tanks that need to be removed.
“The Kentucky River Area Development District is very excited to receive another Brownfields grant,” said Michelle Allen, Executive Director. “This grant will allow us to continue efforts to identify and clean up properties with environmental concerns allowing the properties to be repurposed for economic development. We would also like to thank the EPA for giving us this opportunity.”
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.
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