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Release Date: 11/18/1997
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1588

Jointly released by Santa Barbara County and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  

     (San Francisco) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today awarded $200,000 to Santa Barbara County to help in the redevelopment of under-used commercial and industrial land  -- known as brownfields -- in the Goleta Old Town area near Santa Barbara.
     Brownfields are areas where redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.
     "This new partnership with Santa Barbara County reflects the spirit of optimism that is so much a part of the cleanup and reuse of these brownfields properties," said Fred Hansen, U.S. EPA's deputy administrator. "You can feel the vision and promise in Goleta Old Town, an area that has already begun its rebirth. We are proud to be a part of this vision."

     Santa Barbara County will receive the grant over a two-year period. The grant will be used by the county to restore the Goleta Old Town area, which was an economic, social, and cultural center of the Goleta Valley since the early 1900s. During the 1950s and 1960s, industrial and commercial businesses expanded into Old Town, but since then, the area has been in an economic decline. Redevelopment in Goleta Old Town has been impeded by known and suspected environmental contamination.
     "The brownfields program grant will serve as a major catalyst to jump start the Goleta Old Town revitalization," said Michael Brown, Santa Barbara County administrator.

     The grant will be used to involve the community in decisions about appropriate cleanup levels and future uses of contaminated brownfields' properties in Goleta Old Town, and encourage public and private investment in redevelopment of these areas. The grant funds cannot be used for actual cleanup of the area.

     President Clinton's Brownfields Action Agenda -- initiated nearly three years ago -- encourages redevelopment of brownfield properties. The brownfields initiative also addresses the concerns prospective developers have about inheriting cleanup liability for property.

     Santa Barbara County was one of 34 cities and municipalities nationwide that U.S. EPA selected in May of this year to participate in pilot redevelopment projects.
     In the Goleta Valley, the county, state, local community, and developers will continue to work together to restore the Old Town area, which will create new jobs and economic growth, increase property values and stimulate tax revenues. All of U.S. EPA's brownfields grant projects feature cooperative efforts between diverse community groups, investors, lenders, developers, regulators and other interested parties.

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