News Releases from Region 04
Hickory, N.C., Receives $200,000 EPA Brownfield Grants to Revitalize, Strengthen Local Economy
ATLANTA - At a press conference in Huntington, W.Va., today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $200,000 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning (AWP) grant to the City of Hickory, N.C., for reuse planning that includes residential and commercial projects to connect an industrial area and the neighborhoods to the north. Hickory is among the 20 communities in 16 states receiving approximately $4 million in Brownfields AWP grants for cleanup and reuse of Brownfields sites to revitalize communities and strengthen local economies.
Modeled after New York State's Brownfields Opportunity Area (BOA) Program and part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities-a interagency partnership between the U.S. Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Urban Development and EPA-- these grants recognize that successful, sustained community revitalization, particularly in economically distressed communities, occurs when neighborhood stakeholders, local governments and the private sector are provided tools to develop a shared plan for redevelopment and community-wide improvement.
As a Brownfields AWP grant recipient, the City of Hickory will work with the community and other stakeholders to develop an area-wide plan and implementation strategy for the Southside Area, which includes the Ridgeview, Kenworth, and Green Park neighborhoods. In the early 1960s, the City boasted 46 furniture plants, 89 hosiery mills, and 27 other manufacturers. Between 2001 and 2011, the Hickory metropolitan area lost 37,900 jobs due to the closing of mills and factories, resulting in an increase in the poverty rate from 11.3 to 20 percent (within the project area, the poverty rate is 35.7 percent). The City has identified three, high-priority idle sites in this area, including the former Joan Fabrics site, the former Midland Dry Cleaners site, and an unoccupied former Contract Seating, Inc., site. Redevelopment of these sites is expected to seed the project area with pockets of economic stimulus and vitality, create temporary and permanent job opportunities, remove eyesore properties, and prevent further exodus of businesses from these areas. Key project partners include Catawba County, Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, Catawba Valley Community College Small Business Center, Catawba Valley Habitat for Humanity, Green Park Neighborhood Association, City of Hickory Housing Authority, and Western Piedmont Council of Governments.
"Every region of the country from the Pacific Northwest to the deep south to the midwest Rust Belt and New England has communities that are new AWP recipients, ranging from a community of just over 1000 people to large urban neighborhoods," said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. "The selected grantees have demonstrated a strong vision and partnership to catalyze brownfield redevelopment as a pathway to transform their communities into vibrant destinations for housing, manufacturing, and transit-oriented development."
"The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has a longstanding and productive history of working with the Environmental Protection Agency in assisting communities undergoing economic transformation," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams. "EPA's Area Wide Planning grants can help identify potential areas for EDA investment, both of which are intended to create conditions for private investment and job creation."
"The Area Wide Planning Grants emerged out of the early years of the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities," said Harriet Tregoning, Director of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Office of Economic Resilience. "This year's awardees continue the tradition of comprehensive approaches to community-based problem solving and revitalization. We are thrilled to support our EPA colleagues as the agencies work in partnership with local communities in places as diverse as California's Central Valley, rural Washington, and the Bronx to build more resilient communities that grow our nation's economy."
EPA is awarding up to $200,000 per recipient to work with communities on Brownfields planning activities and reuse in conjunction with community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, employment, education and health facilities, social services, transportation options, infrastructure and commerce needs. The area-wide planning approach recognizes that revitalization of the area surrounding Brownfield sites is also critical to the successful reuse of the property. The approach enables local leaders to conduct a community-wide systematic approach to identify uses and improvements in the area to foster public-private redevelopment efforts. This inclusive, locally driven planning approach advances health and equity by fostering plans for livable communities through jobs, recreation, housing, and an increased tax base.
Considered reuses of Brownfield sites include advanced manufacturing businesses, recreation hubs, mixed-income housing, community centers that serve youth and unskilled workers, leveraging existing infrastructure to support a walkable, transit-oriented community and capitalizing on Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts. This group is also leveraging partnerships with local universities, community groups, local health facilities, local businesses and other neighborhood-based nonprofit groups.
This is the third round of grants awarded under the Brownfields AWP program. The 2010 pilot program, where approximately $4 million was awarded to fund AWP plan development in 23 communities, has leveraged approximately $418 million in infrastructure and project development investments.
Several of the selected communities-Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin; Portland, Maine; Rochester, New York; and Pittsburg, Kansas-- participate in the Economic Development Administration's (EDA) Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership. Others are recipients or key partners of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. These programs seek to leverage and build upon the resources already in the communities and the AWP grants will complement these targeted efforts. Building on federal partnership efforts, DOT has committed to prioritizing communities who use the outcomes of the AWP process to inform subsequent transportation projects in the DOT's TIGER grant selection process. Not only will this new grant award ensure a robust approach to brownfields reuse, it may also assist the community in securing additional resources to implement the plan.
The other 2015 Area-Wide Planning grants will provide funding for the planning of the following reuse activities:
Camden Redevelopment Agency (NJ) - 60 mixed-income rental housing units.
City of Cheyenne, WY - Expanding greenspace, increasing housing options and improving pedestrian amenities.
City of Dubuque, IA - South Port area as a "new downtown neighborhood", w/ expanded Mississippi Riverwalk in transit-oriented environment. Estimate 300 new jobs and $100 M increase tax revenue.
City of Duluth, MN - Attract new industrial-based businesses; turn Raleigh St. into a Complete Street; public access to river and recreation; and greenspace.
City of Fresno, CA - Interest in economic redevelopment/attracting new businesses with its location near highways; a focus on community centers serving youth/unskilled workers; and building on city bicycle and other pedestrian master plans.
City of Huntington, WV - Anchor is Marshall U. baseball field; hub of sports centers, recreation and area for advanced manufacturing - 3D printing/engineering.
City of Lawrence, MA - Recreation/open space, trail connectivity and encouraging economic development.
Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee - Estimate creating approximately 1700 jobs in project area by focusing redevelopment on manufacturing uses related to water technologies and others; creating more public access points; preserving a bike trail and creating additional habitat.
City of New Bedford, MA - Recreational space and attracting economic redevelopment - the city anticipates linking into commuter rail scheduled to be built.
City of Pittsburg, KS - Business and/or residential housing.
City of Racine, WI - River access/trails, greenspace, capitalize on TIF district to attract new investment/redevelopment.
City of Rochester, NY - Housing, institutional or commercial reuse.
City of Spokane, WA - Support existing Hillyard neighborhoods to create a "live-and-work community." Take advantage of an under-construction freeway and existing rail lines to become a multi-modal freight hub and possibly some residential areas.
City of St. Helens, OR - Public riverfront access, environmental restoration, and economic development.
City of Whitewright, TX - Expand business district for light industrial and commercial use.
Greater Portland Council of Governments (ME) - Options include affordable housing,
an expansion of an existing urban farm, and/or the construction of a new building with retail and commercial space.
Mississippi Conference of Black Mayors - Use existing infrastructure (buildings, sewers, road, electrical grids) to build a vibrant downtown/college town. Increase use of local parks, reduce EJ issues.
South Bronx Overall EDC (NY) - Increased housing options, attract industrial businesses, create walkable, multi-modal transit oriented community, and new greenspace.
Temple University (PA) - Adaptive reuse of Orinka Mills site attract new businesses/investment, public greenspace and urban garden; possible housing options and link to subway stops.
More information on the grant recipients: http://epa.gov/brownfields/areawide_grants.htm
More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: http://www.sustainablecommunities.gov/
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