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Great Falls Development Authority (Mont.) receives $300K to assess and revitalize properties

Funds to identify cleanup needs and redevelopment opportunities in north central Great Falls and rural communities along the Missouri River and highway corridors

05/06/2020
Contact Information: 
Richard Mylott (mylott.richard@epa.gov)
303-312-6654

Great Falls, Mont.  -- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the Great Falls Development Authority in Great Falls, Mont., will receive $300,000 Brownfields grant to assess and revitalize property in Great Falls and nearby rural communities. The Great Falls Development Authority is among 151 grant recipients across the nation receiving over $65.6 million in EPA Brownfields funding through our Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant programs. Under President Trump’s Administration, EPA has delivered approximately $287 million in Brownfields grants directly to communities and nonprofits for cleanup and redevelopment, job creation, and economic development through the award of over 948 grants.

The Great Falls Development Authority will use the EPA Brownfields Assessment grant to conduct six Phase I and seven Phase II environmental site assessments focused on the Great Falls North Central Neighborhood, which is located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone; communities along the Missouri River, such as Ulm and Cascade; and communities along the Highway Corridors, such as Simms, Sun River, Vaughn, Belt, Monarch and Neihart. Priority sites include the former Energy West Gas Manufacturing Plant, a former car dealership, the former Montana Power Building, and several abandoned or blighted retail and industrial sites. 

“The Great Falls Development Authority continues to find and deliver on opportunities to assess, cleanup and revitalize properties that benefit the city and nearby communities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “We look forward to seeing the projects associated with these Brownfields funds pave the way for the restoration and redevelopment of abandoned and blighted properties across the area.”

"Cleaning up these sites benefits everyone and will turn vacant properties into new opportunities like public parks, housing, and local businesses,” said Senator Jon Tester. “These grants offer new opportunities, and will create jobs, boost small businesses, and strengthen local economies across Montana.”

“Great Falls Development Authority was so excited to hear that we have been awarded a $300,000 Assessment Grant,” said Lillian Sunwall, Vice President of the Great Falls Development Authority.  “The funding has been vital to moving projects forward in our downtown and river corridor.  We are eager to put the new assessment funds to work throughout Cascade County and look forward to sharing the future success stories with EPA.”

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.

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.

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