EPA Announces Monroe, Louisiana, Will Receive $179K Brownfields Grant to Address Contaminated Properties

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News Releases from Region 06

Nationwide, 149 communities receive $64.6 million in funding for multipurpose, assessment and cleanup grants

06/07/2019

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DALLAS – (June 7, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the city of Monroe, Louisiana, and coalition partners of West Monroe, Louisiana, and Ouachita Parish Police Jury are among 149 communities across America that have been selected to receive 151 grant awards totaling $64,623,553 million in EPA Brownfields funding through our Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities in opportunity zones and other parts of the country in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Forty percent of the communities selected for funding will receive assistance for the first time.

“These grants fulfill several of President Trump’s top priorities simultaneously: helping communities in need transform contaminated sites into community assets that not only create jobs and jumpstart economic development but also improve public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are targeting these funds to areas that need them the most. Approximately 40 percent of the selected recipients are receiving Brownfields grants for the first time, which means we are reaching areas that may previously been neglected, and 108 of the selected communities have identified sites or targeted areas for redevelopment that fall within Opportunity Zones.”

 “Monroe’s former industrial sites can become opportunity zones with EPA Brownfields funding ,” said Acting Regional Administrator David W. Gray. “This grant will help bring these sites back into use to benefit the city’s economy and the environment. ”

The coalition partners will receive a $479,000 assessment grant that will focus on several areas with many former industrial sites. The coalition plans for these underserved areas to be revitalized and used for new and expanded retail, recreation and event space.

“I applaud the work of Planning & Urban Development Director Ellen Hill and her staff for leading this effort. We recognize brownfields redevelopment as a key component for the economic growth of our cities and parish. We are thankful for the contributions of PPM and our partners in the City of West Monroe and with the Ouachita Parish Police Jury,” said Monroe Mayor James E. Mayo. “The Coalition Brownfields Assessment Grant gives us another opportunity to work together to identify sites along the Ouachita River and other key economic corridors that are prime for redevelopment within the twin cities and throughout our parish.”  

Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfields Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. For example, Brownfields grants have been shown to:

  • Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.
  • Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfields sites increased between 5 and 15% following cleanup.

One hundred and eight communities selected for grants this year have identified sites or targeted areas in census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.

“I am truly excited to join as EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announces over $64 million in Brownfield funding,” said Scott Turner, Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. “The Brownfields grant program is a tremendous vehicle for bringing real revitalization and transformation to the distressed communities of America. As the Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council I am pleased that EPA continues to support the Council and the President’s work in this area. In fact, of the 149 communities selected for these grants, 108 will benefit communities with Opportunity Zones. I look forward to seeing the impact that these grants will have on neighborhoods and citizens across the country.”

Grants for Opportunity Zone communities will fund a variety of projects, such as cleaning up Riverside Park in Detroit, Michigan and addressing dilapidated buildings along the Chattahoochee Waterfront in Columbus, Georgia. More information on how the Brownfields Program has helped improve local economies can be found here.

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. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. As of May 2019, under the EPA Brownfields Program 30,153 properties have been assessed, and 86,131 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use Brownfields grants to leverage 150,120 jobs and more than $28 billion of public and private funding.

In 2018 Congress reauthorized the statutory authority for the Brownfields Program. The reauthorization included changes to the program to expand the list of entities eligible for Brownfields grants, increase the limit of individual Brownfields cleanup grants to $500,000, and add grant authority for Multipurpose grants. These important changes will help communities address and cleanup more complex brownfield sites.

The 2019 National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on December 11-13 in Los Angeles, California. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties. EPA cosponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.

List of the FY 2019 Applicants Selected for Funding:
https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy19-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants

For more on the Brownfields Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields
More on the 2019 Brownfields Conference: https://www.brownfields2019.org

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