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Regional Administrator KC Becker joined by Congresswoman DeGette and other partners to highlight new $500,000 grant funding to City and County of Denver

DENVER – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 Administrator KC Becker met with partners to celebrate a new $500,000 grant to the City and County of Denver, Colorado to advance environmental cleanups along Federal Boulevard in the cities of Denver and Sheridan. On May 12, EPA announced the selection of the City and County of Denver for Brownfields grant funding, part of a nearly $255 million investment nationwide made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Denver City Councilwoman At-large Robin Kniech, and staff from the offices of Senator Michael Bennet, the City of Sheridan, Denver City Councilwoman At-large Debbie Ortega, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), joined Director of Environmental Quality Gregg Thomas of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) and other essential partners at the historic Kuhlman Building in the West Colfax neighborhood in Denver. The former St. Anthony Hospital campus building benefitted from brownfields grant funding and has been converted into 49 affordable housing units.

“Denver has a proven track record of working with community partners on strategies to revitalize neighborhoods, including the ongoing effort with the Colfax Mainstreet Coalition to redevelop sites like the one we are standing at today,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “I am looking forward to seeing what this new grant will do to bring about redevelopment for the benefit of vulnerable and overburdened communities.”

“This is a big deal for our area,” said U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO). “This funding will allow us to start the process of cleaning up this important site. Not only will it help us make this land usable once again but, by doing so, it will provide a tremendous boost to our local economy.”

With the $500,000 Brownfields grant funding, the City and County of Denver, working with DDPHE, Denver Economic Development & Opportunity, the City of Sheridan, and the Urban Land Conservancy, plans to conduct 20 environmental site assessments, which evaluate the potential contamination of a property to determine cleanup options and prepare cleanup plans. Program funding will prioritize community engagement opportunities.  

“Sheridan looks forward to partnering with the City of Denver and the Urban Land Conservancy to address brownfields along Federal Boulevard. This corridor crosses a number of historically under-resourced communities and neighborhoods that will benefit from this infusion of funds,” said City of Sheridan Mayor Tara Beiter-Fluhr. “We look forward to finding solutions to community needs with our residents and project partners.”

“It may be tempting to turn our backs on brownfields, to wait for ‘someone else’ to take it on who has the means to assess or cleanup, but who then needs to earn more profit to cover those up-front costs,” said At-large Denver City Councilwoman Robin Kniech. “But these grant dollars will allow local government and non-profit partners to lead, to prioritize affordable housing and other community-serving or benefitting uses for tougher sites they couldn’t otherwise afford to consider on their own.”

“This project will help catalyze a much-needed rejuvenation of the Federal Boulevard corridor, an underutilized and environmentally blighted part of Denver,” said Gregg Thomas, director of Environmental Quality for the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment. “We are pleased to join with our partners at Denver Economic Development & Opportunity, the City of Sheridan, and the Urban Land Conservancy to take this important first step in a project that will provide redevelopment opportunities for a key thoroughfare in our region.”

EPA also selected CDPHE to receive a $2 million Brownfields assessment grant during this grant cycle. With the funding, they plan to advance the cleanup of priority sites across the State of Colorado.

“EPA’s recent announcement that CDPHE has been awarded a $2 million Statewide Assessment Grant is an exciting opportunity to advance the cleanup and revitalization of sites in the cities of Longmont, Lyons, Cortez, Firestone, and Evans,” said Tracie White, CDPHE’s Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division Director. “This work will support under-resourced populations within these communities by identifying potential environmental concerns that could impact human health and the environment. We are grateful to have resources to invest in these and other Colorado communities and look forward to working with all of our partners to facilitate Brownfields redevelopment throughout the state.”

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 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 this year’s announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas. EPA selected 265 communities to receive fiscal year 2022 Brownfields Assessment, RLF, Cleanup Grants and RLF Supplemental Funding.

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