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Release Date: 05/19/2000
Contact Information: Dawn Harris, EPA Media Relations, 404-562-8421
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has awarded Brownfields Pilot Grants to help communities in the southeast evaluate the environmental contamination of brownfield sites. With the help of these grants, state and local officials compile information that is then used to attract potential developers for the location. In addition, this year's assessment grants include provisions for the evaluation, protection and preservation of "green space"-- parks, playgrounds, trails, gardens, habitat restoration, and open space -- on revitalized brownfield sites..

"The Agency's financial commitment is intended to assist municipalities in their efforts to bring together local community groups, investors, lenders, developers, and other stakeholders to develop their own plans to turn economically abandoned areas into environmentally safe, economically attractive areas," said John H. Hankinson, Jr., EPA Regional Administrator.

Today's announcement also includes Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund pilots. These grants allow communities to establish revolving loan funds to provide businesses with low-interest loans to leverage funds for the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields. Awarded on a competitive basis, this funding allows communities that have demonstrated a commitment to the revitalization of brownfields through the use of a brownfields assessment grant to build upon their past successes.

In addition, Charleston, South Carolina will receive a job training grant for the implementation of environmental training programs. This funding provides for the creation of workforce development programs to teach job skills in the field of environmental cleanup to individuals living in low income areas in the vicinity of brownfield sites. The majority of participants who successfully complete the training program go on to pursue careers with environmental firms and organizations.

EPA defines brownfields as abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. EPA's Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative is an organized commitment to help communities revitalize such properties environmentally and economically, mitigate potential health risks and restore economic vitality to areas where brownfields exist. Experience gained from the brownfield pilots, along with partnerships and outreach activities, is providing a growing knowledge base to help direct the Agency's Brownfields Initiative.

Grants announced today include:

CHARLESTON, SC Brownfields Job Training $200,000/Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund Pilot $500,000

Charleston's goal is to train 60 participants as environmental technicians, achieve an 80 percent placement rate, and support career placement of graduates for one year after the training is completed. Participants will be recruited from low-income residents of the Enterprise Community. The training will offer opportunities to take advanced training and earn credits towards a college degree.

Charleston's goal, with the Revolving Loan Fund, is to help advance both public and private revitalization efforts in the Enterprise Community in the hopes that it will become a thriving corridor between North Charleston and Charleston.

CONCORD, NC Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot $200,000/Greenspace $50,000

Concord's goal is to develop a successful brownfields program using city-owned property that will serve as a model for cleanup and redevelopment to encourage private property owners to participate in the brownfields program. The Pilot also will provide cleanup and reuse planning for the targeted sites, including identifying strategies for providing liability protection to aid in redevelopment.

Concord will use the greenspace funding to conduct assessment and cleanup planning at the former electrical warehouse to facilitate creating and protecting greenspace.

GREENVILLE, SC Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot $200,000

The Greenville Pilot plans to identify, address, and remove real and perceived environmental concerns in the Corridor that currently stand in the way of redevelopment. Community input will be sought in all stages, from developing an inventory of potential brownfields to creating a redevelopment strategy. The overall goal is to facilitate economic revitalization in the Corridor in a manner that ensures protection of human health and the environment.

LAURINBURG, NC Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot $200,000/Greenspace $50,000

Laurinburg's goal is to conduct site assessments and prepare redevelopment plans for a variety of properties with suspected contamination

Laurinburg will use the greenspace funding to plan the development of recreational and park space at the Scotland Memorial Hospital site and/or the Main Street site

OPA-LOCKA, FL Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot $200,000/Greenspace $50,000

Opa-locka's objectives are to target the maximum number of brownfields sites in the Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Area for assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment. The city seeks to spur economic development by cleaning up and redeveloping brownfield sites within city limits.

Opa-locka will use the greenspace funding to perform assessments and develop cleanup and redevelopment plans to restore a potentially contaminated lot into a recreational park.

WARE SHOALS, SC Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot $200,000

Ware Shoals' goal is to resurrect the heart of the Ware Shoals community by capitalizing on the natural beauty of the nearby Saluda River. The Pilot will target the 27-acre former Riegel Textile Corporation Mill site and provide the resources to perform environmental site assessments, encourage public involvement and stakeholder participation, and develop an ongoing monitoring plan.

FAYETTEVILLE, NC Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund Pilot $500,000

Fayetteville's goal is to initiate redevelopment of its downtown and to inspire future private-sector investment in sustainable downtown redevelopment. The city's Vision Plan Calls for redeveloping a key 45-acre downtown area. The city expects an initial loan to be made to a public/private not-for-profit redevelopment corporation, to clean up a portion of the site.

WINSTON-SALEM, NC Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund Pilot $500,000

Winston-Salem's objectives include: increasing community involvement, returning underutilized sites to productive use, increasing employment and the tax base, reversing disinvestment in the inner-city, reducing disparity between urban and suburban communities, and slowing greenfields development. The city also plans to hire minorities and disadvantaged residents.

Coalition: SOUTH CAROLINA, ANDERSON, SC; JOHNSTON, SC; YEMASSEE, SC; and KERSHAW COUNTY, SC Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund Pilot $2,000,000

South Carolina's Brownfields Program's goal is to provide a funding source to advance its brownfields redevelopment program. Specific sites targeted for funding include an abandoned textile mill and a former railroad site in the city of Anderson, Elkay Industries in Kershaw County, Walter Farms Birdseed Company in the town of Johnston, and a city-owned site in Yemassee.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund Pilot $500,000

Hillsborough County's goal is to use the Pilot funds to test methods for targeting market-ready sites in the County's Urban Development Area including Orient/Eastlake Brownfields Assessment Pilot Area, the University of South Florida Community Development Block Grant Target Area and Causeway Community Development Block Grant Target Area. A Brownfields Bill of Rights outlining community involvement in cleanup and redevelopment will also be a part of the Pilot.