News Releases from Region 09
U.S. EPA awards $465,000 in Brownfields funding to Arizona, helping revitalize blighted properties and promote economic redevelopment
$54.3 million awarded to 221 projects nationally
SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected 144 communities nationwide for Brownfields environmental assessment, revolving loan fund, and cleanup grants. Two Arizona cities, Peoria and Tucson, will receive $165,000 and $300,000, respectively.
“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.”
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. In Peoria, funds will be used for hazardous waste assessments at the proposed 99th Avenue and Olive Trailhead and Fitness Park on Olive Avenue. In Tucson, funds will be used for approximately 19 site assessments and four cleanup plans along the 12th Avenue corridor, known locally as La Doce.
“Brownfields projects expertly combine community needs, redevelopment and environmental protection,” said Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest office. “In communities throughout the Pacific Southwest, these funds are a welcome catalyst to address underutilized properties and ensure public health is protected.”
In Tucson, La Doce is a significant contributor to the city’s cultural landscape. This funding will allow Tucson to assess various commercial properties with a goal of attracting new businesses, spurring commercial investment and reducing air pollution and blight in the area. Commercial revitalization in the corridor is expected to increase walkability, enrich regional identity, improve tourism and expand safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit users. Since 1997, the EPA has awarded Tucson $2.9 million in Brownfields grants.
“The EPA's Brownfields Assessment grant, in combination with community planning, infrastructure improvements, and public-private investments, will allow the City to continue providing opportunities for creative land reuse. The grant project will focus along South 12th Avenue, colloquially known as La Doce, to advance the redevelopment and revitalization of this unique business and cultural corridor,” said Carlos A. De La Torre, P.E., Tucson’s Director of Environmental & General Services. “We are very excited to build upon the momentum the City and its regional partners are experiencing in redevelopment - from the heart of Tucson’s downtown revitalization to the economic development initiatives of the Sonoran Corridor.”
The City of Peoria’s assessment grant will be instrumental in helping the City purchase, clean up and develop the proposed Olive Avenue trailhead. For nearly 20 years, the property operated as a sand and gravel pit and, later, used as a landfill. Since the 1990s, the site has been a magnet for illegal dumping and an eyesore for neighborhood residents. Its redevelopment promises to bring more access to the New River Trail system, improve air quality by reducing particulate matter from the site and increase opportunities for physical activity.
“The creation of a trailhead and fitness park will reconnect the local community to the river corridor and create a vibrant and healthy space for our residents,” said John Sefton, Peoria’s Community Services Department Director.
The Brownfields program targets economically disadvantaged communities and provides funding and assistance to transform contaminated sites into assets that can generate jobs and spur economic growth. A study of 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 near revitalized Brownfields sites increased between 5 and 15 percent following cleanup.
Communities can use 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 Brownfields project development and implementation activities to address water quality aspects of Brownfields.
List of the FY 2018 Applicants Selected for Funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy18-brownfields-assessment-revolving-loan-fund-and-cleanup-grants
For more information on the ARC 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