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Nine Brownfields Grants Totaling $1.8 Million Awarded in Rhode Island // Part of nearly $10 Million Funded Across New England

Release Date: 04/07/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – April 7, 2008) – Five communities and organizations across Rhode Island have been awarded $1.8 million in EPA funding to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, transforming them from abandoned and blighted properties into community assets. The funding for Ocean State projects comes from EPA’s Brownfields program.

The EPA grants will help pay to assess, clean and redevelop abandoned, contaminated parcels known as brownfields. Projects are selected in a competitive national competition. Of the $74 million of Brownfields grants nationwide announced today by EPA, nearly $10 million are in New England states. Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

"EPA’s Brownfields program has had incredible success helping New England communities revitalize overlooked and abandoned properties,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England regional office. "This money will help provide skilled jobs, a cleaner environment, and more greenspace for Rhode Island.”

In Rhode Island, Brownfields grants to conduct community-wide site assessments and cleanups were made to:
Providence Community Health Centers - $400,000 (two grants)
Town of Middletown - $200,000
City of Woonsocket - $600,000 (three grants)
Town of Richmond - $200,000
R.I. Dept. of Environmental Management - $400,000 (two grants)

This year, the Rhode Island Brownfields grant recipients were among 209 organizations nationally that have been awarded one of the 314 assessment, revolving loan fund, and cleanup grants totaling $74 million. The five R.I. grantees were selected from nearly 100 applicants from New England.

EPA's Brownfields program promotes redevelopment of America's estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since 1994, EPA has provided nearly $170 million in grants and other funding for site evaluations, job training and cleanup loan programs to dozens of communities and agencies in New England, including almost $20 million in Rhode Island. EPA estimates that every acre of reclaimed Brownfields saves 4.5 acres of greenspace and every greenspace created, on average, has doubled the value of surrounding properties.

Brownfields funds help communities assess contamination at abandoned and vacant sites and estimate the costs of cleaning up sites for redevelopment. Municipalities and select organizations can also receive funding for cleanup grants and to establish revolving loan programs that provide low interest loans for cleanups.

In addition to industrial and commercial redevelopment, Brownfields projects have converted industrial waterfronts to riverfront parks, rail corridors to recreational trails, landfills to golf courses and gas stations to housing. EPA's brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $10.4 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding and more than 47,000 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment. Assessments have been performed on 11,738 properties and 256 properties have been cleaned up.

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