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EPA announces six Michigan grantees to receive funding to help build a better America while advancing environmental justice

CHICAGO (May 12, 2022) – Today, the Biden Administration through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded six Brownfields grants totaling $4 million to assess or cleanup brownfields in communities across Michigan. Today’s grants are supported by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a total of $1.5 billion to advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization, and create jobs by cleaning up contaminated, polluted or hazardous brownfield properties. 

Brownfield projects can range from cleaning up buildings with asbestos or lead contamination, to assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties that once managed dangerous chemicals. Once cleaned up, former brownfield properties can be redeveloped into productive uses such as grocery stores, affordable housing, health centers, museums, parks, and solar farms.

The Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. Approximately 86 percent of the communities selected to receive funding as part of today’s announcement across the nation have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.

“With today’s announcement, we’re turning blight into might for communities across America,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA’s Brownfields Program breathes new life into communities by helping to turn contaminated and potentially dangerous sites into productive economic contributors. Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are significantly ramping up our investments in communities, with the bulk of our funding going to places that have been overburdened and underserved for far too long.”

Today’s announcement includes approximately $2.25 million from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help turn brownfield sites in Michigan into hubs of economic growth and job creation, along with almost $1.8 million from Fiscal Year 22 appropriations. 

“EPA’s Brownfields grants are a great investment in Michigan’s future,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “One of the best ways we can build back better in Michigan is by revitalizing unused and contaminated properties and returning them to productive purposes in communities across the state.”

“By cleaning up contaminated and blighted properties, we can strengthen our neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for mid-Michigan families,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re making much-needed investments to reinvest in communities and help usher in new economic growth and opportunity for Michiganders.”

“This funding provides a key investment in environmental justice communities that will help clean contaminated sites while also supporting a vibrant economy,” said Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Director Liesl Clark. “We’re pleased that these six communities are getting the resources they need to flourish.”

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will receive a $2,000,000 grant to conduct 110 environmental site assessments and develop three reuse plans. Grant funds also will be used to develop a market study, revitalization plan, and conduct a land and infrastructure analysis. The target areas for this grant are the cities of Flint, Detroit, Benton Harbor, and Escanaba. Priority sites include former gas stations, a blighted housing complex, the vacant ruins of a former automobile factory, and a property formerly used as a jail. 

The city of Douglas will receive a $500,000 grant to clean up the property located at 200 Blue Star Highway. The 7.18-acre parcel was a former fallow orchard converted in the 1940s into two utility buildings and a 150,300-square-foot industrial building with truck bays. The property has been used for plating, buffing, zinc die casting, metal forming, stamping, phosphatizing, painting metal parts, and furniture manufacturing and is contaminated with PCBs, chlorinated volatile organic hydrocarbons, and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to develop a community involvement plan and conduct community engagement activities. 

“The City of Douglas would like to extend its heartfelt appreciation to the EPA for the diligent efforts in reviewing the myriad of grant applications they received,” said city of Douglas Mayor Jerry Donovan. “The Douglas community is beyond excited to continue its efforts for remediation with the finish line in sight. The property will be a cornerstone of future growth and development for not only our city but our region and State of Michigan as well.”

The city of Jackson will receive a $500,000 grant to conduct 10 environmental site assessments and develop 10 cleanup plans. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community engagement activities. The target area for this grant is the city’s southside neighborhood. Priority sites include a vacant former liquor store, a former metals parts manufacturing, and a former gas station. 

“Coming on the heels of the Michner Plating Superfund designation, this latest Brownfields grant is more welcome news for the Jackson community,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg. “These targeted investments will be a valuable tool to plan the revitalization of additional abandoned sites, which will boost our local economy and promote a healthier environment.”

“The City of Jackson and the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority are pleased to be a recipient of the U.S. EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant,” said city of Jackson Planning Director Chris Atkin. “This grant will focus on identified brownfield sites along the MLK Corridor to assist with our continued vision of removing blighted or obsolete structures and provide safe, clean space to spur economic development in the area.”

Leelanau County will receive a $250,000 grant to conduct 19 environmental site assessments and develop three cleanup plans. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community engagement activities. The target areas for this grant are Cleveland Township, Centerville Township, Empire Village, and the census-designated place of Cedar. Priority sites include a vacant, blighted former ski resort, a vacant two-story former schoolhouse building, a former lumberyard, and former gas stations. 

“On behalf of Leelanau County and the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, we are pleased to be the recipient of a U.S. EPA Brownfield Grant,” said AICP Planning Director and Director of the Leelanau County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority Trudy Galla. “The County will utilize grant funds to conduct environmental investigations and promote economic development of blighted, abandoned, and underused sites, with an emphasis on properties located within our towns and villages. These brownfield funds will help make sites safe and desirable for new residential, commercial and recreational uses.”

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Foundation will receive a $500,000 grant to conduct eight environmental site assessments and develop eight cleanup plans. Grant funds also will be used to update an inventory of brownfield sites and conduct community engagement activities. The target areas for this grant are the city of Muskegon’s Shoreline-Downtown Region and the Heights Broadway Avenue Corridor. Priority sites include the former Sappi Pulp Paper Mill, the former Amoco Oil terminal, the former, vacant Laboratory Furniture Manufacturing site, the former Lift-Tech International site, the former Bennett Pump site, and the former dry cleaner at 2536 Peck Street. 

“In the past, we’ve used this type of funding to stimulate many of the new developments in downtown Muskegon; however, this tool has not been available to us for several years,” said Greater Muskegon Economic Development President & CEO Jim Edmonson. “This new grant will allow us to take the first step in focusing our efforts on many other brownfield properties still in need of clean-up and redevelopment in the City of Muskegon, Muskegon Heights and other locations throughout Muskegon County.”

Oceana County will receive a $300,000 grant to conduct 24 environmental site assessments and develop three cleanup plans. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community engagement activities. The target areas for this grant are the city of Hart, village of Shelby, and village of Rothbury. Priority sites include a former gas station, a former diesel generation electric plant, a former dry cleaner, and a former steel foundry that manufactured carriages for freight, transit, and passenger trains. 

“Oceana County is grateful to receive a $300,000 EPA assessment grant for our Brownfield Redevelopment Authority,” said Oceana County Administrator Robert J. Sobie. “This grant allows the authority to partner with the EPA to not only encourage cleanup of potentially contaminated sites, but it can also serve as a catalyst for the redevelopment of sites that, in many cases, have remained idle for many years. The grant award is both an environmental and economic win for Oceana County and our residents.”

The complete list of the applicants selected for funding nationwide is available on our Brownfields website.

Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s investments in brownfield sites have leveraged more than $35 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. For example:

  • To date, this funding has led to more than 183,000 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment and more than 9,500 properties have been made ready for reuse.
  • Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged on average $20.43 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% 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.

During the past 10 years, EPA has invested a total of $30,299,892 in Brownfields grants in Michigan communities. Those funds have been used to complete 1,636 assessments and 47 cleanups and prepare 802 properties for reuse. In addition, those grants have leveraged $1,492,114,503 and 11,784 jobs.

Additional 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. Redevelopment made possible through the program includes everything from grocery stores and affordable housing to health centers, museums, greenways, and solar farms.   

The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on August 16-19, 2022 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). Conference registration is open.

For more on Brownfields grants, visit our grant funding website

For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program, visit our Brownfields website.
 

 

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