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Denver among 265 communities nationwide to receive Brownfields Cleanup, Assessment and Revolving Loan Fund Grants to help build a better America while advancing environmental justice  

 

DENVER Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the City and County of Denver, Colorado will receive a $500,000 Brownfields assessment grant to advance the cleanup and revitalization of properties at priority sites along the Federal Boulevard Corridor within the cities of Denver and Sheridan. Priority sites include South Federal Boulevard, a former college campus, a vacant commercial property, and a former gas station property. 

 The City and County of Denver, including the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) and the Denver Economic Development Opportunity, along with the City of Sheridan and the Urban Land Conservancy, plans to use community-wide grant funds to conduct 20 environmental site assessments and prepare cleanup plans. These site assessments will examine current and historical uses of properties, and sample soil, water, air and building materials, to evaluate potential contamination, determine cleanup options, and initiate reuse planning. Additionally, grant funds will be used to prepare a Community Involvement Plan, conduct meetings, prepare community outreach materials in multiple languages, and provide a translator at meetings.  

“With this funding, the City and County of Denver can begin the work of cleaning up and redeveloping important yet currently vacant and unsafe sites along the heavily travelled Federal Boulevard,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “I applaud the City and County for focusing revitalization efforts on an overburdened and vulnerable neighborhood with historical environmental justice concerns.” 

 “This grant is an important first step in the revitalization of a vital corridor of our city,” said DDPHE Executive Director Bob McDonald. “We are pleased to join our partners at Denver Economic Development & Opportunity, the City of Sheridan, and the Urban Land Conservancy to better understand any environmental challenges to redevelopment, improve potential health risks to the community, and ultimately help encourage investment in local business and affordable housing throughout the Federal Boulevard corridor.” 

 The Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justive40 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 this announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas. EPA’s Brownfields grants and other technical assistance programs like the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative are also helping to build the clean energy economy. 

 Today’s announcement includes approximately $180 million from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help turn brownfield sites across the nation into hubs of economic growth and job creation, along with more than $75 million from fiscal year 2022 appropriations.   

 The funding includes: 

  • $112.8 million for 183 selectees for Assessment Grants, which will provide funding for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments, and community outreach. 
  • $18.2 million for 36 selectees for Cleanup Grants, which will provide funding to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites owned by the recipient. 
  • $16.3 million for 17 selectees for Revolving Loan Fund grants that will provide funding for recipients to offer loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. 
  • $107 million for 39 high-performing Revolving Loan Fund Grant recipients to help communities continue their work to carry out cleanup and redevelopment projects on contaminated brownfield properties. Supplemental funding for Revolving Loan Fund Grants is available to recipients that have depleted their funds and have viable cleanup projects ready for work.  

 The list of selected applicants is available here: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2022-brownfields-assessment-rlf-cleanup-arc-grants-and-rlf 

 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. 

 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)t Association (ICMA). 

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