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News Releases from Region 08

Great Falls and north-central Montana communities receive $1M for revitalization projects

Funds among $5.35 million to redevelop contaminated Brownfield sites through revolving loan funds

06/07/2017
Contact Information: 
Richard Mylott (mylott.richard@epa.gov)
303-312-6654

Denver– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected the Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA) in Great Falls, Mont. and the Bear Paw Development Corporation (BPDC) in Havre, Mont. to receive $500K each to assess and revitalize properties. The two Montana organizations are among 11 existing Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) recipients to receive a total of approximately $5.35 million in supplemental EPA funding announced today. The additional support will help GFDA and BPDC continue partnering with local governments and business interests to clean up contaminated properties and create new economic opportunities and public amenities.  

The Great Falls Development Authority has a proven history of using EPA Brownfields funds to leverage the redevelopment of properties in the community.  Prior successes include projects that have addressed petroleum and hazardous contaminants at properties that are now home to the True Brew Coffee Shop and Park, the Center for Mental Health, the Great Falls Community Food Bank, the Easter Seals-Goodwill building, and the Arvon Block building. Currently, GFDA is assisting with the West Bank Landing, an extensive effort to clean up the site of a former refinery and county shops to develop a hotel, retail space, restaurants and housing along the Missouri River. The resources provided today will enable GFDA to continue to support high-priority projects that will create new jobs and economic opportunities. Potential future project locations include the Rocky Mountain Building and the Old Clinic Building in the city’s downtown area. 

The Bear Paw Development Corporation has successfully used EPA Brownfields funds to support redevelopment projects in communities such as Havre, Big Sandy, Harlem and Malta in north-central Montana where local interests have identified cleanup needs and opportunities for new businesses and amenities. BPDC has seen an increased demand for brownfields funding with several projects that are in both the planning and cleanup completion stages, including Four Way Fuel and the Big Sandy Hotel projects in Big Sandy, the Equity Co-op site in Harlem, and Havre City Hall.

The Brownfields RLF program supports EPA’s commitment to help environmentally overburdened communities address their local priorities. The supplemental funds announced today will help communities reuse vacant and abandoned properties and turn them into community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, transportation options, infrastructure and commerce opportunities.

“These supplemental funds help provide communities with resources to help clean up contamination, and turn blighted land into opportunities that can generate jobs and spur economic growth,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

RLF grants are often the last key piece of funding needed to make the cleanup and reuse of a brownfield property happen. They fund loans and sub-grants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. These supplemental funds are provided to communities with current RLF grants who have already achieved success in their brownfields work, and keep the momentum going.

The entities selected for additional funding today are:

  • Kennebec Valley Council of Governments in Fairfield, ME

  • Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission in Saco, ME

  • City of Taunton in Taunton, MA

  • Camden Redevelopment Agency in Camden, NJ

  • City of Atlanta in Atlanta, GA

  • Downriver Community Conference in Southgate, MI

  • City of Rockford in Rockford, IL

  • City of Oklahoma City in Oklahoma City, OK

  • Bear Paw Development Corporation in Havre, MT

  • Great Falls Development Authority in Great Falls, MT

  • County of Humboldt CA in Eureka, CA

Former successful RLF communities have leveraged more than $6.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment investments and completed more than 657 cleanups. For example, RLF funds are being used to turn the Colman Village Site in Rockford, Illinois into a $65 million multi-use complex that will host the Rock Valley Technical Career Education and Training Center, a major hospital clinic, the Illinois Center for Urban Agriculture, and office spaces. It is expected to generate approximately 210 to 305 jobs.

There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States, and EPA brownfield grants are helping to make a visible difference in communities across the country. As of May 2017, more than 124,759 jobs and $24.3 billion of public and private funding has been leveraged.

On average, for every one EPA Brownfields dollar provided, $16.11 was leveraged. As for employment, on average, 8.5 jobs were leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.

A recent national study has shown that cleaning up brownfields led to residential property value increases of 5 - 15.2% within a 1.24-mile radius of the site. (Haninger et al. 2017). Another study analyzing data near 48 brownfields found that an estimated $29 to $97 million in additional tax revenue is generated for local governments in a single year after cleanup. This is 2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfields.

For a list of FY 2017 applicants selected for RLF Supplemental Funds: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-fy17-rlf-supplemental-funds-award-selections

For more information on EPA’s brownfields program: https://epa.gov/brownfields

To see project examples and success stories: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-success-stories