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EPA visits Orem, Utah to announce $300K Brownfields grant to advance cleanup and redevelopment projects

Tour hosted by Mayor Brunst highlights City’s exemplary efforts to revitalize former industrial properties

06/04/2019
Contact Information: 
Richard Mylott (mylott.richard@epa.gov)
303-312-6654

DENVER -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin today joined representatives from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality to announce $300,000 in new EPA Brownfields grant funding to support the environmental assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of brownfields sites in the city of Orem, Utah. Mr. Sopkin was hosted by Mayor Richard Brunst for a tour of locations where the City is focused on redeveloping vacant and underused industrial properties.

The City of Orem is among 149 communities selected to receive EPA Brownfields grant awards totaling $64,623,553 million through our Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) grant programs.

“EPA Brownfields grants help transform blighted properties into community assets,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “Our success depends upon finding strong partners like the City of Orem, whose leaders are working strategically to create new economic opportunities and amenities for their residents.”

The City of Orem will use the EPA Brownfields grant to conduct environmental assessments at several properties in the Geneva Road Area, including former power generation facilities, auto and junk yards, waste transfer stations, parking lots, and other properties where the evaluation of potential contamination will identify any cleanup needs and advance reuse and redevelopment. The Brownfields project is the latest in a series of successful property assessment, cleanup and redevelopment efforts in Utah communities supported by EPA in coordination with our partners at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

“I am excited to announce that a $300,000 EPA Brownfields grant has been awarded to the City of Orem to conduct environmental assessments at several properties in the Geneva Road Area,” said Mayor Richard F. Brunst. “These funds will allow the city to identify any cleanup needs and advance reuse of the area. This will help in identifying vacant land and underused industrial properties for redevelopment. I want to thank the EPA for their grant funding to help improve this important area of our city.”

"These EPA Brownfields grants reflect the power of partnership and will help accomplish our overriding goals of healthier people, healthier communities, and a healthier economy," said Utah Department of Environmental Quality Executive Director Alan Matheson.

The EPA funds announced today will build upon a previous EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning grant used by the City to work with community stakeholders to develop an area-wide plan and implementation strategies for assessment, cleanup, and reuse in the Geneva Road Corridor. The Imagine Orem: Geneva Road plan represents a community-driven vision and master plan for the renewal of the area that will improve the health, safety, environmental quality, employment opportunities, transportation options, and business development of the corridor.

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 U.S. 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.

Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfield 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 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% following cleanup.

One hundred and eight communities selected for grants this year 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.

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

EPA booklet “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

For more on the Brownfields Grantshttps://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding

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