Union City just got a boost in its request to rid the city of a most unsightly building in the community.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced it plans to award Union City $400,000 in grants — a $200,000 assessment grant for hazardous substances and a $200,000 assessment grant for petroleum. The money will be used for environmental testing at the former Reelfoot Packing Co. so it can be determined how the property should be cleaned up, Union City city manager Kathy Dillon said.
She added this is not a grant to actually clean up the property, which is privately owned, but that it is “a shot in the arm. It’s definitely heading in the right direction.”
The EPA is awarding two communities in Tennessee Brownfields grants for new investments to provide funding necessary to clean and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and create jobs while protecting human health.
“Brownfields sites are community assets and a key component of the Obama Administration’s efforts to provide tools to sustainably revitalize communities and foster economic development,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Through these grant resources local communities can continue to assess, cleanup and redevelop properties to meet local needs for jobs, housing and recreation while protecting people’s health and the local environment.”
The Upper Cumberland Development District will also be receiving a $200,000 assessment grant for hazardous substances and a $200,000 assessment grant for petroleum.
Ms. Dillon said the national grants are very competitive, with only one project being funded in the past three years in the state of Tennessee. Tennessee submitted about 22 applications this year. She had high praise for Rob Goad of Northwest Tennessee Development District, who wrote this year’s grant application. Union City has tried once before for the grant, but was turned down the first year. It was written by someone with Keramida —a high-tech, full-service sustainability, environmental, health and safety, and remediation consulting and engineering firm, which provides services to industries, cities and governments worldwide. Its firm is headquartered in Indianapolis.
EPA’s Brownfields Program empowers states, communities and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse brownfields. A Brownfields site is real property, the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was passed to help states and communities around the country clean up and revitalize Brownfields sites. Under this law, EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through four competitive grant programs: assessment grants, revolving loan fund grants, cleanup grants and job training grants. Additionally, funding support is provided to state and tribal response programs through a separate mechanism.
There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States. More than 20,000 properties have been assessed, and more than 850 properties have been cleaned up through EPA’s Brownfields Program. EPA’s Brownfields investments have also leveraged more than $19 billion in overall cleanup and redevelopment funding from public and private sources. On average $17.79 is leveraged for every EPA Brownfields grant dollar spent. These investments resulted in approximately 87,000 jobs nationwide. When Brownfields are addressed, nearby property values can increase 2-3 percent. A 2011 pilot study indicated Brownfields site redevelopment increases location efficiency, which means that residents live closer to where they work and play, reducing their commute times and greenhouse gas emissions. EPA’s preliminary research has also shown that redeveloping Brownfields sites results in an efficient reuse of existing infrastructure and decreasing instances of stormwater runoff. These projects can have a positive impact on community revitalization by leveraging jobs, producing clean energy and providing recreation opportunities for surrounding neighborhoods.
More information on Brownfields grants by state: http://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/
More information on EPA’s Brownfields Program: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/
Success Stories: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/success/index.htm
Published in The Messenger 5.10.13