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St. Louis City and County Agencies to Receive $600,000 in Grants for Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Planning

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, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected the St. Louis (city) Development Corporation (SLDC) and the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) of St. Louis County for two separate Brownfields grants valued at $300,000 each.

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.

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 are pleased to recognize the city and county of St. Louis and look forward to the opportunities these EPA Brownfields grants will provide to the greater St. Louis community, ” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “This funding will help assess, cleanup and revitalize key brownfield sites throughout the metro region. Reclaiming these underutilized sites and putting them back to good use will benefit the community and its residents, our economy, and our environment.” 

The $300,000 SLDC grant funds will be used to conduct 18 Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments and cleanup planning activities. Activities will focus on the city’s northern neighborhoods of Jeff-Vander-Lou, St. Louis Place, Carr Square, Hyde Park, Wells/Goodfellow, Mark Twain, Walnut Park, and Baden, which are all located within Qualified Opportunity Zones.

"St. Louis Development Corporation is extremely grateful for this opportunity to continue our partnership with the U.S. EPA to address brownfields in our community,” said SLDC Executive Director Otis Williams. “The EPA has been a great partner over the years, and their support will allow us to continue to address vacancy and abandonment in historically distressed and underserved areas of the city."

The $300,000 LCRA of St. Louis County grant funds will be used to develop eight cleanup plans and support community education activities. Assessment activities will focus on the West Florissant Avenue and Natural Bridge commercial corridors, including areas of Ferguson, Dellwood, Jennings, and Pine Lawn in St. Louis County within Qualified Opportunity Zones. Priority sites include two former auto parts stores, a former car wash, two former gasoline stations, and a former retail shopping plaza.

“EPA is a great supporter of redevelopment work in St. Louis County, allowing us to revitalize areas, improve economic vitality, and increase the safety and health of residents and businesses in the community,” said CEO and President of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership Rodney Crim. “These funds will complement our existing Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund that creates strategic partnerships with developers who are assessing and cleaning up derelict properties, preparing them for new development.”

​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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