News Releases from Region 08
Great Falls receives $300K to advance redevelopment projects
EPA Brownfields grant to Great Falls Development Authority to support environmental assessment and property redevelopment in Downtown and West Bank areas
DENVER – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing the Great Falls Development Authority a $300,000 Brownfields grant to cleanup and revitalize properties in the City’s Downtown Planning area and the West Bank of the Missouri River.
The City of Great Falls is among 144 grant recipients across the nation receiving EPA Brownfields Environmental Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup grants. The 221 grants totaling $54.3 million will provide communities with funding to assess, clean up and redevelop underutilized properties while protecting public health and the environment.
The Great Falls Development Authority has developed a comprehensive inventory of dozens of brownfields sites targeted for environmental assessment, risk reduction, and potential redevelopment in the Downtown Planning area and West Bank. These include abandoned buildings, former automotive facilities, and commercial and industrial plants throughout the city. Potential contaminants of concern include petroleum compounds, heavy metals, asbestos, pesticides, wood treatment chemicals, and other hazardous substances in soils, surface water and groundwater. The City will use EPA’s grant finds to target the assessment of several blighted sites with redevelopment potential.
The Great Falls Development Authority has successfully used EPA Brownfields funds in the past to assess, clean up and revitalize several properties in the city, including noteworthy development projects that created new hotels, restaurants, a brewery and affordable housing.
“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.”
“Great Falls has been an exemplary partner in using EPA Brownfields grants to address environmental concerns and transform once-blighted properties into economic and community assets,” said EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento. “We continue to support GFDA and the community’s efforts to make sure that Great Falls remains a vibrant place to live, work and play.”
“The Brownfields Program has been such a great tool for economic development in Great Falls,” said Lillian Sunwall, project manager with the Great Falls Development Corporation. “The ability to continue funding projects by leveraging brownfields resources to make projects work will show our community how redevelopment and reuse of sites can benefit all of us.”
The 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 sites. Another study found that property values of homes located near brownfields 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 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 program may also serve as a potential source of long-term, low-cost supplemental financing to fund brownfields project development and implementation activities to address water quality aspects of brownfields.
List of the FY 2018 applicants selected for funding:
For more information on Brownfields grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields
For more information on how brownfields restoration has positively impacted local economies and the quality of life for neighboring communities: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-success-stories