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EPA Selects Green Bay and Brillion for $1.3 Million of Brownfields Funding for Cleanup and Assessment

Part of $2.1 Million of Brownfields Funds for Wisconsin

05/06/2020
Contact Information: 
Joshua Singer (singer.joshua@epa.gov )
312-353-5069

GREEN BAY and BRILLION, Wisc. – (May 6, 2020) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of Green Bay and Brillion for $800,000 and $500,000, respectively, to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the Brownfields program. Under President Trump’s Administration, EPA has delivered approximately $287 million in Brownfield grants directly to communities and nonprofits for cleanup and redevelopment, job creation, and economic development through the award of over 948 grants. 

“These communities are ready to move forward with redevelopment; they just lacked the funding to take that next step,” said EPA Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede. “EPA’s Brownfields grants help jump-start the process by providing support for assessments and cleanups.” 

“The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, communities and tribal nations across the state have made excellent use of EPA brownfields funding to ensure investigation, cleanup and reuse of brownfields across Wisconsin,” said DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole. “These three new awards will allow this essential land recycling work to continue in Wisconsin. These funds fill a necessary gap for properties where exciting new uses are possible once historic contamination is addressed.”    

Contaminated sites like those in Green Bay and Brillion not only hinder economic development, but damage our local environment,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI-08). “The grants provided by the EPA are great news for Northeast Wisconsin, and will ensure our communities have the resources they need to clean up hazardous substances in our own backyard.” 

Nationwide, this year, the agency is announcing the selection of 155 grants 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 151 total communities selected, 118 of these  communities  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.

“With EPA's support, the City of Green Bay is now better equipped to facilitate the remediation and redevelopment of brownfields across our city," said Mayor Eric Genrich, City of Green Bay. "The Revolving Loan Fund program will be a key tool to support cleanup efforts, which will directly benefit the health and well-being of the Green Bay community." 

EPA has selected the city of Green Bay for a Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grant, which will be used to capitalize a revolving loan fund that will provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities. Revolving loan fund activities will focus on nine priority sites within Green Bay’s Northwest, West, and East Qualified Opportunity Zones that include a power plant, salvage yard, and metal plating facility, all located within federally designated floodplains.  

“In 2016 the former Brillion Iron Works closed its doors resulting in nearly 350 lost jobs. The EPA Brownfield Cleanup grant awarded to the City of Brillion will play a critical role in helping bring new investments into Brillion and Calumet County, helping improve the local tax base, creation of new jobs and quality of life,” said Lori M. Gosz City of Brillion Administrator/Clerk-Treasurer.   

EPA has selected the city of Brillion for a $500,000 Brownfields Cleanup Grant. Grant funds will be used to clean up the former Brillion Iron Works property located at 200 Park Avenue and 234 East Ryan Street. The now idle 145-acre site consists of 20 parcels and was used as a foundry and manufacturer of farm implements from the late 19th century until 2016. It is contaminated with hazardous substances, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, and metals. Grant funds also will be used to support community involvement activities.  

The three Wisconsin communities that will receive a total of $2,100,000 in EPA Brownfield awards are: Brillion, $500,000; Green Bay, $800,000; Washington County, $800,000.  

 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.   

Background   

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.   

 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   

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