News & Updates

EPA announces $1.3 million in Brownfields grant to Erie, Crawford, and Mercer Counties

Posted on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:56 AM
EPA announces $1.3  million in Brownfields grant to Erie, Crawford, and Mercer Counties

ERIE, Pa.  (July 2, 2019) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Atlantic Regional Adminstrator presented a total of $1.3 million in Brownfields grants in communities in three northwestern Pennsylvania counties. 

Erie County Economic Development received $526,000, the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County received $200,000, and $600,00 was awarded to the Penn-Northwest Development Corporation.  This funding will be used to assess, clean up and plan sustainable redevelopment of underutilized properties while protecting public health and the environment. 

These grants are part nine awarded in Pennsylvania totaling $3.9 million and 151 grants awarded nationally totaling $64,623,553.

“Many communities are ready to move forward with redevelopment, they just lack the funding to get started,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “We are pleased to support first-time Brownfields grantees in Crawford, Erie, and Mercer Counties and provide much-needed funding for assessments and cleanup.”  

The Erie County Industrial Development Authority will conduct environmental site assessments and prepare cleanup plans. The assessments will target seven priority sites in Erie County. Grant funds also will be used to update a brownfields inventory, develop a GIS database and mapping materials, and conduct community outreach activities. Coalition partners are the Redevelopment Authority in the City of Corry and the Enterprise Development Center of Erie County Inc. 

The Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County in Meadville will to conduct environmental site assessment of the Bessemer Site at 789 Bessemer Street in Meadville. The 11-acre site was a maintenance facility for the railroad and had a documented release of heating oil in 1979. Grant funds also will be used for cleanup and reuse planning activities, coordinating community planning meetings, and providing media outlet updates. 

The Penn-Northwest Development Corporation in Mercer County will conduct environmental site assessments. Grant funds will be used to conduct community outreach activities. Coalition partners are the Cities of Sharon and Farrell, which are the target areas for this grant. 

Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfield 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.

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.

For the fact sheet on : 

For a list of all of the grants selected for funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy19-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants

For the booklet “Brownfields: Properties with New Purpose, Improving Local Economies in Communities with Brownfield Sites”: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-06/documents/bf_booklet.pdf

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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