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EPA Selects Washington, DC Building Recycling Project for $50,000 Sustainable Development Challenge Grant

Release Date: 5/11/1999
Contact Information: Donna M. Heron (215) 814-5113

WASHINGTON, DC -- Sustainable Community Initiatives, Washington, DC, is one of 41 projects nationwide selected for funding under the EPA’s Sustainable Development Challenge Grant program.

Now in its third year, the challenge grants provide seed money to encourage creative local approaches and cooperation to improve the environment. It fosters community partnerships among citizens, non-profit organizations, government and business.

In 1998, $5 million was allocated to promote sustainable development projects throughout the U.S. Across the nation, 656 proposals were submitted requesting a total of $82 million. In Region III, 73 proposals were submitted and four were selected for funding.

The Sustainable Community Initiative will create 10 jobs in the Ivy City section of Washington, DC and create an alternative to traditional building demolition. The employees will be trained in deconstruction techniques to dismantle buildings piece by piece instead of demolishing them. The building materials will be sold for reuse.

Implosion and demolition creates toxic dust containing particulates, heavy metals, mold and other toxic substances. Deconstruction provides stable, well-paid employment, diverts tons of materials away from landfills, and saves trees, industrial fuels and other resources .

The challenge grant will fund the first phase that will include developing a business plan for a retail operation to sell salvaged building materials. Profits from the business will be used to establish a loan program for other Ivy City entrepreneurs. Additional opportunities to create jobs and businesses in other areas that prevent pollution and promote sound economic development will also be researched.

Three other sustainable development grants were awarded in EPA Region III -- to the Greensgrow Philadelphia Project for urban farming at a remediated Brownfield site; Prince George County’s Department of Environmental Resources, Landover, Md., for improvements along the Anacostia River and watershed; and the Lightstone Foundation, Inc., Moyers, W. Va., for support of sustainable family farming, natural resources management and rural development.

Once these grants are finalized, the EPA Sustainable Development Challenge Grant program will have funded 96 projects totalling $10.5 million.

Information about the Sustainable Development Challenge Grant Program, including the 41 new awards, can be obtained at: A new request for proposals for the 1999/2000 program will be announced this summer.