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EPA Selects Five More New Jersey Communities for Brownfields Redevelopment Awards of $200,000 Each

Release Date: 05/18/2000
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(#00103) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox announced today that Essex, Somerset and Union counties, Gloucester City and  Pennsauken Township have each been selected to receive $200,000 Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative awards to advance the redevelopment of brownfields through the assessment of sites with the best potential for reuse. These municipalities can also use the new funds to develop public outreach for community involvement in the brownfields process. Through these and previous brownfields grants, EPA has invested over $7 million dollars to assist in the redevelopment of New Jersey’s brownfields over the past six years.

EPA supports communities across the country through its Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative -a national effort to renew industrial and commercial properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.  "EPA is continuing to focus on brownfields redevelopment in New Jersey because these efforts provide a variety of benefits that improve the environment and local economies," Regional Administrator Fox said.

"For previous brownfields grant recipients, the common denominator for success in this economic redevelopment initiative has been strong partnerships with all levels of government, the community and the private sector," Ms. Fox added. "We welcome our new brownfields community partners."  Essex County is pursuing a mixed-use redevelopment program to revitalize five target municipalities in the county that have a dire need, but few resources. Brownfields redevelopment in Essex County will help attract new business opportunities, as well as retain existing businesses, create new jobs, build affordable housing and create open space.

Somerset County plans to use the $200,000 award to help return abandoned industrial lands and buildings located in distressed communities to productive, commercially-viable use.  The county will select specific target areas of environmental concern within the selected communities, conduct assessments, and develop comprehensive cleanup and redevelopment plans using a computer-based model.

Union County will conduct area-wide environmental characterizations of brownfields along the Raritan Valley rail road line, and conduct six environmental assessments and develop cleanup plans for the communities of Plainfield and Hillside. The county will convene a Brownfields Community Advisory Committee, as well as a Coordinating Committee to guide Pilot activities and community outreach. The goal is to create lasting public/private partnerships, which will enable the county to continue brownfields assessments, cleanup and redevelopment activities in the future.

Gloucester City will target the city’s Southport Area. Historically the location of shipping and textile industries, the area now suffers from underemployment and both real and perceived environmental contamination. Through site inventory and assessment, barrier identification and removal, cleanup planning, and community involvement, the municipality will promote site redevelopment and employment within the Southport Area, ultimately encouraging economic development throughout the city.  Pennsauken Township will focus on a 500-acre waterfront subdivision, carefully selected by the township for assessment, cleanup and redevelopment. The plan is to preserve the natural and recreational resources of this area, encourage reuse of the vacated properties and buildings, and design and implement new transportation alternatives that include light-rail systems. Another Township objective is to consolidate Pennsauken’s industrial land uses. In addition, the municipality will use the funds to conduct site   evaluations and assessments at selected properties and leverage additional support for  their cleanup and ultimate redevelopment.

In addition to the five new brownfields communities in the state being announced today, there are 15 municipalities already participating in the National Brownfields Economic Redevelopment program in New Jersey. These include: Trenton, Camden, Newark, Perth Amboy, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Atlantic City, Long Branch, Paterson: Orange, Phillipsburg, Hudson, Middlesex and Morris Counties, and the Hackensack Meadowlands District.