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EPA Selects Nine Projects in California to Receive Nearly $4 Million for Revitalization of Contaminated Properties

05/06/2020
Contact Information: 
Denise Adamic (adamic.denise@epa.gov )
415-972-3061

SAN FRANCISCO - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced nine projects across California will receive a total of nearly $4 million to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency’s Brownfields Program.

Nationwide, more than 151 communities have been selected to receive grants totaling more than $65.6 million in EPA Brownfields funding. These funds will help under-served and economically disadvantaged communities assess and clean up contaminated properties and return them to productive reuse.

“Brownfields grants provide communities across California with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into public assets,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “This can attract jobs and promote economic revitalization, while taking advantage of existing infrastructure and protecting communities and the environment.”

The nine projects selected in California include:

California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) received a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment grant. The funds will be used for the city of San Bernardino, with a focus on the Downtown area. DTSC plans to implement the National Association for County and City Health Officials Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health, which is a methodology that seeks to establish ties with community members to determine and respond to key environmental health concerns. California State University San Bernardino will also assist on this project.

"Downtown is the heart of every community, and DTSC is excited to partner with the U.S EPA to help revitalize San Bernardino's central core," said Meredith Williams, Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. "We had identified this as an environmental justice area where brownfields, high development interest, and a need for brownfield funding can spur revitalization and productive reuse of the land."

City of Fresno received a $800,000 Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund. The grant will be used to clean up contaminated properties in the 4.9‐square‐mile Transform Fresno Project Area, which includes Downtown, Chinatown and Southwest Fresno. This award leverages other federal, state and private investments to spur economic, community and affordable housing development in Fresno.

“The City of Fresno is excited to receive this grant,” said Fresno Mayor Lee Brand. “These funds will be a vital tool in the development of the City’s Brownfields Program. The funds will ease limitations to development in areas of the greatest need in the City of Fresno.” 

City of Lodi received a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment grant. The funds will be used for assessment, redevelopment and cleanup planning for multiple contaminated sites within the city’s downtown, historical industrial areas and residential areas bordering the main rail line. The city identified multiple priority properties, including the former General Mills production facility, abandoned downtown buildings, a former cinema and the former Piemonte Hotel property. The reuse plans will advance community and municipal goals, educational opportunities, job creation and job training. This project builds on a prior Brownfields grant to the city in 2015.

“My first “aha” moment while searching for redevelopment resources arrived in 2015 when the City of Lodi was awarded our first brownfields grant,” said City Manager Steve Schwabauer. “After that, things just started to click. One project after the other underwent assessment. My second “aha” moment came with the announcement of having been awarded this second brownfields grant. We can see how all the redevelopment pieces and partners are fitting together. The EPA believes in Lodi, and Lodi is grateful for the confidence the EPA has placed in us.”

City of Los Angeles received a $500,000 Brownfields Cleanup grant. The funds will be used to remediate 6.1 acres along the Paseo del Rio area as part of the Los Angeles River Revitalization effort. The City of Los Angeles is partnering with more than 60 stakeholder groups, including Mujeres de la Tierra, Friends of the Los Angeles River and the Greater Cypress Park Neighborhood Council. This project, once completed, will provide an array of benefits including public green space, recreation, restored natural habitat, stormwater management, flood protection and river access.

“We are thankful that the EPA continues to partner with Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment as we work to revitalize this vital stretch of the Los Angeles River for beneficial use for the entire community,” said Enrique C. Zaldivar, Director and General Manager, Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment. “Reclaiming brownfields is important work for Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment, and each piece of the entire Taylor Yard property plays a key role in improving LA's water quality and enhancing our natural biodiversity.”

City of Mt. Shasta received a $500,000 Brownfields Cleanup grant. The funds will be used to remediate the contaminated portion of a former 127-acre lumber mill, which was in operation from around 1900 until the late 1960s. The property will be redeveloped along with other remediated areas for several uses, including an RV park, performing arts theatre, office space, recreation park, and light industrial and commercial operations. The site will connect to major roadways and a greenway trail system that promotes habitat restoration, wilderness preservation and wildlife viewing.

"This grant is a last piece to ensure cleanup of previous industrial activities and catapult us into a cleaner future,” said Mt. Shasta City Planner Juliana Lucchesi. “These acres are set aside as a mixed-use development with park lands for the community and future visitor servicing uses to bolster our economy. After this summer, we will be ready to refresh the development plan to streamline future infrastructure and development proposals."

Richmond Community Foundation received a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment grant. The nonprofit Richmond Community Foundation (RCF) will use the funds to assess abandoned and foreclosed properties within the neighborhoods of Belding Woods, Coronado, Iron Triangle, Pullman and Santa Fe. Subsequent to property assessment, RCF will leverage funding from the Richmond Housing Renovation Program to clean up and redevelop these properties into homes for low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers. This grant builds on previous Brownfields grants to the City of Richmond.

“Our Housing Renovation Program provides homeownership to local residents by reclaiming blighted abandoned homes,” said President and CEO, Richmond Community Foundation. “Our partnership with the EPA allows us to identify and abate hazardous building materials and other contamination present in these homes so that they are affordable and safe.”

Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency received a $350,000 Brownfields Cleanup grant. The funds will be used to transform a former commercial and industrial area into the Mirasol Village Light Rail Station, which will serve the soon-to-be-developed mixed-income housing project Mirasol Village. This project is a catalyst site for the transformation of Sacramento’s River District, turning a source of blight into a highly functional community asset, better connecting a once isolated community to the center of the city.

“Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, in partnership with the City of Sacramento, is very pleased to be selected as a recipient of this $350,000 grant from the EPA,” said SHRA Executive Director La Shelle Dozier. “This award will further our commitment to create a thriving new inclusive community, Mirasol Village, in the Sacramento Promise Zone by providing the missing link of connectivity and access through transit with an innovative, sustainable light rail station.”

Sierra Institute for Community and Environment received a $500,000 Brownfields Cleanup grant. The funds will be used to remediate sites within a former 28-acre lumber mill in Crescent Mills. Redevelopment plans include an integrative wood utilization campus that will create renewable energy and valuable products from low-value biomass removed from surrounding forests. The campus will include a community-scale biomass-powered heat and power facility, a wood chipping facility and other businesses focused on wood product utilization. Ecosystem restoration and wildfires resiliency will be additional benefits. These enterprises will spur the local economy and create jobs.

"The Sierra Institute is thrilled with the U.S. EPA Brownfield support,” said Sierra Institute for Community and Environment Executive Director J. Kusel. “This funding compiled with previous EPA support will enable near full remediation of the old mill site in Crescent Mills and will hasten wood utilizing business development and job creation in Indian Valley."

Susanville Indian Rancheria received a $441,545 Brownfields Cleanup grant. The funds will be used to remediate a contaminated portion of a former 10-acre ranch. The site was in operation from the 1940s until 2002 and is adjacent to a pond and wetland in a watershed critical to the rancheria. The site will be redeveloped into a permanent powwow ground for traditional cultural ceremonies, a wetlands interpretative area and associated parking.

For complete summaries of all projects selected in the Pacific Southwest Region: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/2020-brownfields-grants-awards-pacific-southwest   

Background

A brownfield is a property for which the site’s 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 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 brought about further investment, from both public and private sources, which led to the creation of more than 160,000 jobs.

EPA’s Brownfields Program grants have been 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 percent following cleanup.

For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region, which implements and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and 148 tribal nations. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter.