An official website of the United States government.

News Releases

News Releases from Region 07

Waterloo, Iowa, Receives $300,000 Grant for Brownfields Environmental Assessment and Property Reuse 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) - The city of Waterloo, Iowa, was selected to receive a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today to conduct environmental site assessments, planning, and community outreach activities in the city.

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 of Waterloo and look forward to the opportunities this EPA Brownfields Grant will provide to the community,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “Brownfield assessment, cleanup and revitalization helps communities put underutilized properties back to good use. Reclaiming these sites benefits the community and its residents, our economy, and our environment.”

City officials plan to use the $300,000 grant to conduct 19 Phase I and up to four Phase II environmental site assessments, focusing on blighted and vacant properties in the city’s Urban Core and Broad Street Corridor. They will also use the funds to support reuse planning and community outreach activities. Priority sites include a former bulk oil paint and welding shop, recently-acquired Tech Works lots, former railyard, and former River Road area, part of a Qualified Opportunity Zone.

"This is excellent news. I am pleased that our partnership with the EPA for the redevelopment of infill and brownfield sites in Waterloo continues,” said Waterloo Mayor Quintin Hart. “We have seen great success working with the EPA and DNR on Brownfields programs. It has helped us to educate the public that all brownfield sites do not have contaminants. Now we are able to attract new small business development and new investment by private businesses. These funds will help strengthen our community from within, bringing new life to existing business districts and older industrial sites. We look forward to this next wave of transformative projects."

​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.

# # #

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

Learn more about EPA Region 7

View all Region 7 news releases

Connect with EPA Region 7 on Facebook: www.facebook.com/eparegion7

Follow us on Twitter: @EPARegion7