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EPA Brownfields Grant Will Assist Meriden, Conn. with Site Clean-up

EPA Grants Help Return Blighted Properties to Productive Reuse and Promote Economic Redevelopment

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BOSTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Meriden, Conn. is among 144 communities across the United States to receive EPA funding for brownfield site revitalization efforts. The City of Meriden will be awarded an EPA Brownfields Cleanup grant of $200,000.

Meriden is among 221 grants awarded nationwide, totaling $54.3 million. The EPA Brownfields funding will provide communities with funding to assess, clean up and redevelop underutilized properties while protecting public health and the environment.

"EPA's Brownfields Program expands the ability of communities to recycle vacant and abandoned properties for new, productive reuses, using existing infrastructure," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These grants leverage other public and private investments, and improve local economies through property cleanup and redevelopment."

EPA's Brownfields grant to Connecticut this year is among another significant annual investment by EPA to help New England communities address brownfield properties. Across the six New England states this year, EPA is awarding 26 grants totaling $8.35 million, which will help up to 75 communities undertake work assessing or cleaning brownfields.

"EPA is very proud of our robust and effective Brownfields program here in New England," said Alexandra Dunn, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "EPA Brownfields funding has made a tangible and lasting difference in hundreds of communities, helping citizens and civic leaders to revitalize abandoned or underutilized properties, and return them to productive use for people to enjoy."

"The redevelopment of brownfields is a win not only for the environment, but the economy as well. Brownfields are a wise choice for development, as they already have the infrastructure in place to support new growth, as well as reducing to need to develop valuable open space," said Rob Klee, Commissioner of Connecticut Dept. of Energy and Environment. "This investment will help to transform a long vacant piece of property into economic driver for the region. The DEEP is thankful to our partners at the EPA for recognizing the potential in this parcel to be a transformative project for Meriden."

The City of Meriden was selected for a brownfields cleanup grant to be used to clean up the former Meriden-Wallingford Hospital property at 1 King Place. The hospital operated at the site for nearly 100 years until it was vacated in the 1990s. The 5.6-acre site is contaminated with PCBs, metals, inorganic contaminants, and petroleum. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community involvement activities.

"The redevelopment of 1 King Place is a key component of the City's efforts to transform the neighborhood into a walkable, vibrant area with access to jobs, housing and improved public transit. We are thrilled to be receiving a $200,000 cleanup grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency for the remediation of 1 King Place that will take us one step closer to site redevelopment," said Ken Morgan, Acting City Manager of Meriden.

In New England, since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded 382 assessment grants totaling $110.5 million, 75 revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding totaling $102.9 million and 290 cleanup grants totaling $71.8 million. These grant funds have paved the way for more than $2.9 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for over 18,100 jobs in assessment, cleanup, construction and redevelopment.

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. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures away from undeveloped, open land, and both improves and protects the environment.

The EPA Brownfields Program targets communities that are economically disadvantaged and provides funding and assistance to transform contaminated sites into assets that can generate jobs and spur economic growth. A study analyzing 48 Brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments 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 brownfield sites. Another study found that property values of homes located near brownfield sites that are cleaned up increased between 5 and 15 percent post cleanup.

Communities can use EPA Brownfields funding to leverage considerable infrastructure and other financial resources. For example, EPA's Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund can be used to address the water quality aspects of brownfield sites and the assessment and construction of drinking water infrastructure on brownfields, respectively. EPA's Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program may also serve as a potential source of long-term, low-cost supplemental financing to fund brownfield project development and implementation activities to address water quality aspects of brownfields.

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