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Phoenix and South Tucson to Receive $1.7 Million from EPA for Revitalization of Contaminated Lands

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

PHOENIX - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the cities of Phoenix and South Tucson have been selected to receive a total of $1.7 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 Arizona 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.”

“Phoenix’s Brownfields Program is poised to continue to boost our economy with these $1.4 million grants from EPA,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “The two grants allow us to address environmentally-challenged properties for the Rio Reimagined Project and provide low-interest rate loans for developers, businesses and nonprofits for cleanup of sites citywide.”

"The City of South Tucson is pleased to accept another Brownfields Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This will be our sixth such grant,” said Interim City Manager Veronica Moreno. “Since 2005 the Brownfields program has completed assessments at over 100 properties and has redeveloped over 20 acres throughout the City. Brownfields redevelopment has been an important catalyst for preserving the City’s unique character and improving the livelihood of its residents."

City of Phoenix received two Brownfields Grants totaling $1.4 million. Through a Brownfields Communitywide Assessment Coalition Grant for $600,000, the City of Phoenix will lead a collaborative effort with the cities of Avondale and Tempe, as well as Arizona State University to assess, in each city, the area bordering the Salt River (Rio Salado), Agua Fria and Gila River for potential properties to be revitalized. This project will build on previous EPA Brownfields grants and take place within the Rio Reimagined Urban Waters project area.

Phoenix also received an $800,000 grant from EPA’s Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund to work with local grassroots groups, developers and government agencies in financing contaminated site cleanups. These projects aim to help Phoenix become a more sustainable, connected desert city. This grant leverages other investments to spur overall economic, community and local food development.

City of South Tucson received a Brownfields Assessment Grant for $300,000. This new EPA funding will support assessments of properties in South Tucson’s Central Business District and the key business corridors of Fourth Avenue and Sixth Avenue. While the area is challenged with vacant former industrial buildings and struggling commercial sites, this grant will support continued revitalization of this regionally recognized destination for local restaurants and social activities. As the city moves forward with cleanup and redevelopment based on the assessments, it will incorporate sustainable and equitable development practices to retain residents and preserve the area’s cultural and community pride. This grant will build on previous EPA Brownfields-funded work.

For complete summaries of all projects selected in the Pacific Southwest Region, visit: 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.