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U.S. EPA, Sacramento mayor and vice mayor break ground at downtown garden site

Release Date: 11/08/2006
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, 415-947-4307

Community garden returns following $200,000 EPA grants to spur restoration project

SAN FRANCISCO – Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined Sacramento’s mayor and vice mayor at a ground breaking ceremony today in Sacramento, Calif. where the Capitol Area Development Authority used $200,000 in brownfields funding to revitalize a former garden that had been contaminated with aromatic hydrocarbons, lead and pesticides.

Today’s groundbreaking at the Fremont Community Garden at the corner of 14th and Q Streets in Sacramento, Calif. follows three years of work by the Capitol Area Development Authority to identify past uses, possible contaminants and conduct cleanup activities restoring the site for reuse.

“The Capital Area Development Authority has taken a giant step toward creating livable communities in their downtown area,” said Carolyn Douglas, Regional Brownfields Coordinator for EPA Region 9. “Through cooperative efforts with EPA and the State of California Department of General Services, CADA is revitalizing property that will be developed into a community garden and become part of the City of Sacramento’s Community Garden Program.”

Beginning in 2003, the Development Authority was awarded two $200,000 brownfields cleanup grants. The grants were used to cleanup up two sites in the historic capital area of Sacramento including Fremont Gardens, a former community garden located in the Fremont Park neighborhood. The Fremont Garden cleanup grant helped pay for the removal, disposal, and replacement of 1,700 cubic yards of soil contaminated with aromatic hydrocarbons, lead and pesticides.

The grant helped the Development Authority to leverage approximately $423,000 for cleanup and redevelopment efforts and preserve and enhanced an historic central community gathering place. Cleanup is complete at Fremont gardens, and the site has received a no further action letter from the County. Work crews recently completed trench and irrigation systems, and fence posts and sidewalks.

The site includes 50 garden plots, and will include a number of environmentally sustainable features including an all-organic gardening requirement, various technologies to recapture rainwater and channel it into the soil below the garden. The Development Authority will transfer ownership of the property to the City of Sacramento where it will become part of the city’s Community Garden Program.

The property was once a collection of residential structures between 1880 and 1920, and although purchased by the state for the 1960 Capitol Area Plan, a community garden was established on the property in the mid-1960s and remained for over 30 years. When the Development Authority planned to develop the property the community successfully urged them to restore the gardens.

The agency’s Brownfield’s Program has linked EPA with local communities like Sacramento, helping to address environmental issues associated with vacant or under-utilized properties for soil assessment or contamination cleanup.

Since 1997, Sacramento has received $1.3 million in grants and revolving loan funds from the EPA’s Brownfields program.

For more information on the EPA’s regional Brownfields program go to: