$1.5 Million for East Bay Cities to Redevelop Properties
Grants Announced at Virtual Event with East Bay Community Energy
In May 2021, EPA announced $1.5 million in grants to the East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) and the Cities of Richmond and Vallejo to identify and prepare formerly contaminated properties, also known as “brownfields,” for redevelopment. The announcement was made at a virtual event with EBCE CEO Nick Chaset and Hayward City Councilmember / EBCE Board of Directors, Elisa Marquez. EBCE is a not-for-profit public agency renewable energy provider.
“These exciting projects will ensure the Bay Area becomes more resilient in the face of climate change impacts while revitalizing underserved communities and under-utilized properties” said Jeff Scott, EPA’s Land Director for the Pacific Southwest. “The Brownfields program provides flexibility and support to make these important transitions happen.”
EBCE will use their $300,000 award to support development of electric vehicle (EV) charging hubs and will focus on redeveloping brownfields in communities impacted by environmental justice challenges in Alameda County and the City of Tracy. The funds will be used to complete environmental assessments of potentially contaminated properties and develop cleanup and reuse plans for EV hub development. These future hubs may include solar arrays and battery storage. Battery storage at former brownfields sites can increase community climate resiliency by improving access to electric power during blackouts, which have been increasing in frequency due to wildfires.
“This grant from EPA is instrumental in helping the East Bay transition to a clean power economy” said EBCE CEO Nick Chaset. “The results of this project should lead to a replicable model for converting brownfields into valuable cleantech infrastructure, in the form of hubs for electric vehicle fast-charging.”
“This project brings the potential for many local wins here in Hayward. It addresses several dire environmental issues, including redeveloping contaminated brownfields, bringing economic prosperity to dormant urban land, and creating opportunities to expand the adoption of clean, electric transportation in Hayward.” said Elisa Marquez, Hayward City Councilmember and member of EBCE’s Board of Directors."
The City of Vallejo’s $600,000 award will be used to fund redevelopment efforts on Mare Island and along the Downtown Waterfront. Goals for redevelopment in these target areas will align with existing plans for waterfront redevelopment, including mixed-use commercial, residential, shoreline access and transit-oriented development. The City of Richmond will use $600,000 to repurpose brownfields located close to transit in Central and North Richmond into affordable and workforce housing.
Nationwide, 151 communities are receiving awards totaling $66.5 million. Since its inception in 1995, EPA's Brownfields Program has provided nearly $1.76 billion in grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return them to productive reuse. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country, including $6.8 million in Brownfields funding over the last five years to communities throughout the nine Bay Area counties. EPA’s “early-in” funding has supported the productive and safe reuse of brownfields in the Bay Area into affordable housing, open space and commercial redevelopment, as well as job training programs for unemployed adults in professional environmental cleanup skills.
- To date, communities participating in the Brownfields Program have been able to attract more than $34.4 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding after receiving Brownfields funds. This has led to over 175,500 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment.
- Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged on average $20.13 for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
- In addition, an academic peer-reviewed study has found that residential properties near brownfield sites increased in value by 5% to 15.2% as a result of cleanup activities.
- Finally, analyzing data near 48 brownfields, EPA found an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup—2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfield sites.
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Fact Sheet: Transforming Blighted Properties into Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Stations (pdf)
Evaluating the viability of building EV fast charging infrastructure in Alameda County, California.