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Greater Kansas City Metro Coalitions Receive $1.4 Million for Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment Projects

05/06/2020
Contact Information: 
Ashley Murdie (murdie.ashley@epa.gov)
913-551-7785

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Lenexa, Kan., May 6, 2020) - Today, two greater Kansas City metro coalitions were selected to receive a total award of $1.4 million in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program funding for cleanup planning and assessment in the region.

Under the Trump 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.

The funding includes an $800,000 Revolving Loan Fund for cleanup activities to the city of Kansas City, Missouri, and its coalition with Jackson County, Missouri; and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas. Additionally, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) will receive a $600,000 Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant with these same coalition partners, including Kansas City, Missouri.

Nationwide, this year EPA is announcing the selection of 155 grants for communities and tribes totaling over $65.6 million in EPA Brownfields funding through the Agency’s Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant programs. These funds will aid underserved 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.

“We’re pleased to recognize Kansas City, Missouri, and the Mid-America Regional Council coalitions and look forward to the opportunities these EPA Brownfields Grants will provide to communities on both sides of the river,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “This funding will help assess, clean up, and revitalize key brownfield sites throughout the metro area. Reclaiming these underutilized sites and putting them back to good use will benefit the community and its residents, our economy, and our environment.”

“Environmental sustainability is key to the future development of any city and the long term health of its residents,” said Missouri U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver. “These funds will enable Kansas City, Missouri, and the region at large to safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated sites. Targeting qualified Opportunity Zones will facilitate equitable development in areas that need it most.”

The $800,000 grant to the city of Kansas City, Missouri, will be used to create a Revolving Loan Fund from which the city will provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities. Grant funds will also be used to develop site reuse plans and conduct community involvement activities. The targeted areas are in Kansas City and Jackson County in Missouri, and in Kansas City, Kansas, in Qualified Opportunity Zones. Priority sites include brownfield sites in old historic corridors, heavy industrial areas, and petroleum industry sites.

“I am pleased that EPA has awarded Kansas City an $800,000 grant to help make sites safe and ready for new affordable housing, amenities and jobs, just as we did with previous EPA Brownfields funding for several redevelopment projects like Gateway at 39th, the DeLaSalle Education Center, and the ALDI store on Prospect Avenue,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. “I thank EPA, our regional partners, and our City Planning and Development Department that worked to secure this funding to make Kansas City communities cleaner, healthier, and more equitably prosperous for all of our residents.”

MARC’s Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant will be used to conduct 15 Phase I and 12 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds will also be used to conduct four risk assessments, develop four cleanup plans, and support community engagement activities. Assessment activities will focus on Prospect and Independence Avenues in Kansas City, Missouri; Qualified Opportunity Zones; Blue River industrial districts throughout Jackson County; and northeast neighborhoods that border Quindaro Boulevard in Kansas City, Kansas.

“I’m so pleased that the Mid-America Regional Council has been selected for this important EPA Brownfields grant. I look forward to working with our community to leverage our resources and create new opportunities for economic growth in Kansas,” said Kansas U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids.

“The Mid-America Regional Council is honored to receive EPA’s Brownfield Coalition Assessment Grant as part of this partnership,” said MARC Environmental Program Director Tom Jacobs. “This grant will facilitate the sustainable reuse of properties in diverse communities around the Kansas City region, leading to improved public and environmental health along with measurably enhanced community and economic vitality. This initiative will be integral to fostering higher levels of regional collaboration in service of long-term sustainability and resilience goals.”

​Nearly 30% of the communities announced nationwide today will receive Brownfields funding for the first time. Of the 151 communities selected, 118 can potentially assess or clean up brownfield sites in census tracts designated in Opportunity Zones.

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 brownfield 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 brownfield sites increased between 5 and 15% following cleanup.

List of the FY 2020 Applicants Selected for Funding is available online.

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 Brownfields 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 Brownfields Program has supported many successful projects in EPA Region 7’s four states (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska). The Steeple Square complex includes a community center, supportive housing, and child center developed after Brownfield assessments on the former historic St. Mary’s Parish campus buildings through a grant to the city of Dubuque, Iowa. Brownfields funding for the Jordan Valley West Meadows Project is transforming what was once an abandoned railyard vulnerable to flooding into an urban greenway in the heart of Springfield, Missouri. The West Haymarket area of Lincoln, Nebraska, is a prime example of how a community can use EPA Brownfields assessment and cleanup grants to leverage multiple sources of additional funding, technical assistance, and community support to drive and expand growth. Leavenworth, Kansas, used Brownfield funds to cleanup lead paint, asbestos, and soil contamination to convert an industrial site into apartments as part of a downtown historic revitalization.

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 (ICMA).

For more information on Brownfields grants, visit EPA’s website.

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Learn more about EPA’s Brownfields Program

Learn more about EPA’s role in Opportunity Zones

Learn more about the Brownfields Program’s environmental and economic benefits

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