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Release Date: 12/7/1998
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1588

     (San Francisco) -- To help the city of Las Vegas to revitalize its downtown core, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today awarded the city a $200,000 brownfields grant for work on transforming four historical industrial sites.

     Brownfields are abandoned or under-used industrial or commercial areas where redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. Property owners, lenders, investors and developers fear that involvement with these sites will make them liable for contamination they did not create.

     "The energy and commitment of the city to create a new, thriving downtown area is an inspiration," said Keith Takata, EPA's Superfund director.  "EPA is proud to play a part in the area's transformation."

     The Las Vegas brownfields project will feature cleanup and restoration of downtown areas containing warehouses and equipment yards that were abandoned for larger sites in the Las Vegas valley.

     "We're thrilled to be a part of the brownfields program," said Mayor Jan Laverty Jones. "This will help us advance our vision of revitalizing the redevelopment area by making it easier for businesses to return to the heart of the city."

      EPA's grant will assist with redevelopment by funding testing to determine how much contamination exists at the sites from previous site activities and to evaluate cleanup options for contaminated soils. The grant will also be used to conduct outreach activities that will encourage community and business participation in the project.

     There are 228 brownfields pilot projects nationwide, including a grant to the Ely Shoshone Tribe in Nevada.
     The brownfields initiative empowers states, local governments, and other stakeholders to work together toward sustainable economic redevelopment of property. The initiative also addresses prospective developers and lenders concerns about inheriting cleanup liability for property that is contaminated or perceived to be contaminated.

     Information on the new brownfields pilot grant awards can be obtained from the U.S. EPA's brownfields home page at: http:// .

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