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Indiana communities to receive Brownfield funding to help build back America’s economy while addressing environmental justice concerns

LEBANON, Indiana (May 13, 2022) – Today, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that 10 Indiana recipients will receive $9.4 million in funding to assess or clean up brownfield sites or to support revolving loan fundsThis includes two Brownfields grants totaling $5.9 million to the Indiana Finance Authority. EPA officials joined with state and local officials today at a Brownfields redevelopment site in Lebanon to make the announcement.   

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 nationwide selected to receive funding as part of today’s announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is bringing much needed funding to help communities turn contaminated and potentially dangerous sites into economic opportunities,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “This year, 86% of communities across the nation who are receiving Brownfields grants have proposed projects in historically underserved areas. This is a great step in our efforts to finally confront the challenges that have held back many vulnerable communities across this country from reaching their full potential.”

Today’s announcement includes $7.8 million from the historic $1.5 billion investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Las to help turn brownfield sites in Indiana into hubs of economic growth and job creation, along with $1.6 million from Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations.

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

“These Brownfield grants will further improve communities across Indiana,” said IDEM Commissioner Brian Rockensuess. “We look forward to working with our federal, state, and local partners to ensure further development at these sites and return them to productive use.”

“This funding will support Governor Holcomb’s priority to continue cultivating our strong and diverse economy in Indiana and serve as a vital aspect in turning blighted brownfield sites into neighborhood assets,” said Jim McGoff, chief operations officer and director of environmental programs for the Indiana Finance Authority.

The Indiana Finance Authority will receive a $2 million Brownfields Community-wide Assessment Grant for States and Tribes to conduct up to 23 Phase II environmental site assessments and develop up to 20 cleanup and reuse plans. The target areas for this grant are the Cities of Lafayette, Gary, Frankfort, Evansville, and New Castle. Priority sites include a 14-acre paperboard production facility that has been closed since 2008, a 69-acre former industrial landfill, a 7.8-acre unoccupied property that formerly housed a machine shop, and a 2.3-acre former manufacturing facility located in a residential neighborhood.

IFA will also receive a $3.9 million to supplement the agency’s successful Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund.  With these additional funds IFA will make even more loans and grants to property owners and communities for the cleanup of contaminated sites. RLF grants provide funding for a grant recipient to capitalize a revolving loan fund and to provide loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. Through these grants, EPA strengthens the marketplace and encourages stakeholders to leverage resources to clean up and redevelop brownfields. When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community. These additional funds are being awarded because of the success the recipient has already demonstrated.

The City of Lebanon will receive a $150,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant to develop an inventory of brownfield sites and conduct six Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop up to four cleanup plans and support community outreach activities. The target area for this grant is the city’s Highway 32/South Street Corridor. This corridor was primarily developed for commercial and industrial purposes but has since deteriorated due to time, natural disasters, and economic decline. Priority sites include a 3-acre former concrete plant adjacent to a residential neighborhood, and a former automobile dealership and service shop in severe disrepair.

“The City of Lebanon has two key sites under redevelopment that are gateways into our community,” said Mayor Matthew Gentry. “Both sites saw EPA Brownfields grant dollars used to help assist making these projects a reality.  The city is thrilled to be awarded $150,000 in the FY22 cycle to further help in redevelopment.”

East Central Indiana Regional Planning District will receive a $500,000 grant to update an inventory of brownfield sites and conduct 14 Phase I and 10 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop seven cleanup plans and support community outreach activities. The target area for this grant is Delaware County, with a focus on the City of Muncie. Priority sites include a 75-acre former glass manufacturing facility, a 1.5-acre site housing three contiguous vacant and blighted buildings and parking lots that are the remnants of a commercial district that faded during the 1960s, and a half-acre gas station and auto repair site that has been unused since 1999.

“Having the opportunity to work in cooperation with the U.S. EPA has been of tremendous benefit to the East Central Indiana Region,” William (Bill) Walters, Director of the ECI Regional Planning District said. “Past EPA grant funds have assisted in the development of major projects such as the Cornerstone Park in Muncie and the redevelopment of the former Blackford County hospital in Hartford City. The ECI Regional Planning District looks forward to continuing this important work in cooperation with the U.S. EPA on even more brownfields in Delaware County. Completing environmental assessments of brownfield properties is a critical first step in seeing through any potential redevelopment efforts.”

The Town of Fortville will receive a $305,700 grant to develop an inventory of brownfield sites and conduct 10 Phase I and up to eight Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop up to 10 cleanup plans and support community outreach activities. The target area for this grant is the Broadway Street Corridor in the Town of Fortville, which contains at least 15 vacant, derelict, or underutilized commercial and industrial properties. Priority sites include an underutilized towing company, three former gas stations and a former auto repair facility.

“We are thankful for this grant award from the EPA,” said Adam Zaklikowski, AICP, Planning Director.   “This will help in the redevelopment of parts of town, especially along our Broadway corridor.  It will reduce development risk by allowing funding for necessary environmental studies for old gas stations, car lots, etc.  We look forward to working with the EPA and their regional staff on this exciting opportunity!”

The City of Martinsville will receive a $400,300 grant to develop a brownfield site inventory and conduct 12 Phase I and up to 10 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop up to 10 cleanup plans and to support community outreach activities. The target areas for this grant are the city’s Northwest Corridor and I-69 Corridor. Priority sites include a former plastics molding facility, a former automotive electronics manufacturer, a former concrete block manufacturer, an underutilized lumber yard, and a former fueling facility.

“The City of Martinsville is most grateful to the Environmental Protection Agency for awarding this grant to our city,” said City of Martinsville Mayor Kenny Costin. “With these funds, we will be able to expand our existing brownfields inventory, inform reluctant investors of various properties’ environmental conditions and help them understand the great investment potential of target area properties, and mitigate possible threats to human health and the environment.  We know that his will not happen overnight, but with this grant, we will be able to take the first steps in creating a better community that will endure for many generations to come.”

The Michiana Area Council of Governments will receive a $500,000 grant to conduct 18 Phase I and up to 13 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop four site-specific and four area-wide reuse plans and conduct community engagement activities. The target areas for this grant are the Cities of Elkhart and South Bend. Priority sites include the Oil Express, which was a former coal, lumber, and auto yard; a bulk oil storage facility; and the Roundhouse, a former locomotive repair facility.

“MACOG is excited to continue leveraging EPA funding to put underutilized sites back to productive use by reducing environmental barriers, ultimately facilitating more workforce housing and addressing our regional economic development priorities,” said James Turnwald Executive Director of MACOG.

Michigan City Sanitary District will receive a $400,450 grant to conduct 13 Phase I and eight to 10 Phase II environmental site assessments and develop five to 10 cleanup plans. Grant funds also will be used to update the brownfield site inventory and conduct community engagement activities. The target areas for this grant are the city’s Northwest Corridor and the South Gateway. Priority sites include underutilized buildings, a former printing company, a former industrial facility, a former retail mall, and a former furniture factory.

“I commend the commitment of Michigan City leaders, Governor Holcomb, and the state of Indiana to aggressively pursue and secure funding through EPA’s Brownfields Program,” said U.S. Rep. Frank Mrvan. “Thanks to their cooperation, underutilized sites within Michigan City and throughout the state will be identified for future reuse and redevelopment.  This action not only addresses environmental concerns, but as importantly contributes to the economic health of our region by attracting new residents and businesses.

“The Michigan City Sanitary District and its partners are thrilled to be awarded another U.S. EPA brownfields grant.  A key to revitalizing our distressed neighborhoods is Brownfields cleanup and reuse.  Much has already been accomplished in Michigan City and this pivotal grant will help us to redevelop even more of our neighborhoods,” said Milorad Milatovic, General Manager, Michigan City Sanitary District.

The City of Seymour will receive a $500,000 grant to conduct 14 Phase I and 10 to 12 Phase II environmental site assessments and develop five to 10 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 cities of Seymour and Brownstown. Priority sites are legacy downtown industrial and commercial sites and include former tire shops, a former auto repair and body shop, a former gas station, and a former paper mill.

“In Seymour, we recently have witnessed the transformation of a former Brownfield site into a 64-unit, $12.5 million apartment complex, providing much needed housing options for our senior residents,” said Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson. “This EPA grant will help us evaluate other properties in Seymour and Jackson County to determine what steps are needed to make them marketable. Potential sites that have been identified to benefit from this grant include a former tire service/auto repair business and a former paper mill.”

The City of Sullivan will receive a $305,700 grant to conduct 10 Phase I and six to eight Phase II environmental site assessments and develop five to 10 cleanup plans. Grant funds also will be used to update an inventory of brownfield sites and conduct community engagement activities. The target area for this grant is the Section Street Corridor, which includes much of downtown Sullivan. Priority sites include a former scrap yard, former dry cleaner, an industrial site, a former gas station and car wash, and a former appliance parts and repair shop.

“Our administration continues to stay laser-focused on finding every opportunity to further promote and develop the City of Sullivan. We are excited to once again partner with the EPA to ensure several properties are ready for potential future development in the City of Sullivan,” said City of Sullivan Mayor Clint Lamb.

The West Central Indiana Economic Development District, Inc., will receive a $400,000 grant to conduct 18 to 20 Phase I and 10 to 13 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop six cleanup plans and conduct community engagement activities. The targets area for this grant are towns with the highest concentrations of brownfield sites in Vermillion County including Cayuga, St. Bernice, Blanford, Eugene, Newport, and Clinton. Priority sites include former gas stations, an auto repair shop, and an unregulated landfill.

The Brownfields Program delivers on the Biden Administration’s Justice40 initiative, which states that at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs flow to disadvantaged communities. EPA is committed to meeting and exceeding this goal. Approximately 86 percent of the communities selected to receive funding as part of today’s announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.  The funding announced today will help communities begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields by stimulating economic opportunity and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities. Projects can range from cleaning up buildings with asbestos or lead contamination to assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties that once managed dangerous chemicals.

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.
  • 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 $36,098,875 in Brownfields grants in Indiana communities. Those funds have been used to complete 895 assessments and 27 cleanups and prepare 246 properties for reuse. In addition, those grants have leveraged $565,878,670 and 3,125 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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