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Chester County Gets $200,000 For Brownfields Redevelopment

Release Date: 7/29/2005
Contact Information: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548

Contact: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548
COATESVILLE, Pa - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has awarded an additional $200,000 to Chester County, Pa. to revitalize industrial sites that may be contaminated with hazardous materials. This EPA brownfields grants is used to transform problem properties into community assets.

“Brownfields reclamation is one of the great environmental success stories of the past decade. The grant we are announcing today is designed to help the people of Chester County reclaim this property, which has been unused for years - for productive, constructive use,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA regional administrator for the mid-Atlantic region.

This grant is the third EPA brownfields grant awarded to Chester County, bringing the total of federal Brownfields grants awarded to the county to $665,000 . This competitive grant will be used for strategic planning, community outreach, up to five phase assessments on sites throughout Chester County, specifically in economically distressed communities. Some of the funding will go towards development of the new Chester County Public Safety Training Facility. The areas targeted for revitalization have histories of heavy industrial use dating back 200 years.

In 2001, EPA awarded Chester County a $200,000 grant to assess brownfield properties throughout the community. The county used this funding to conduct assessments at three sites: the 14-acre former Bishop Tube facility; the inactive 17-acre Amtrak rail yard located in Downingtown Borough, and the 8.5-acre former Lukens Steel facility in Coatesville. Downingtown is a Pennsylvania-designated Keystone Opportunity Zone, and Coatesville is a state Enterprise Zone. In 2003, EPA awarded Chester County a $265,000 revolving loan fund grant to clean up brownfield properties.

“The reuse of brownfields builds stronger communities,” said Gary Smith, president and chief executive officer of the Chester County Economic Development Council. “Productive brownfields sites improve the economic vitality of a town and the environment.”

In 2005, EPA has awarded communities in 44 states more than $75 million in EPA brownfields grants to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites.

Since its inception in 1995, the program has awarded 709 assessment grants totaling over $190 million, 189 revolving loan fund grants worth more than $165 million, and $26.8 million for 150 cleanup grants.

Nationwide, EPA’s brownfields assistance has led to more than $7 billion in public and private investment in cleanup and redevelopment, helped create more than 31,000 jobs, and resulted in the assessment of more than 5,100 properties. The funds are being made available under the brownfields legislation signed into law by President Bush on January 11, 2002.