EPA awards Brownfields grants to eight Indiana communities and state agency
Eight Indiana cities and the state’s Department of Environmental Management have been awarded a total of $1,740,000 in federal Brownfields grants, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5. IDEM will receive grants totaling $400,000. The cities of Anderson, Elkhart, Fort Wayne, Goshen, Muncie and Richmond will each receive $200,000 grants, while Gary will receive $100,000 and South Bend $40,000.
Brownfields are abandoned or underused sites where expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence of a hazardous substance. Some brownfield success stories include the conversion of industrial waterfronts to riverfront parks, landfills to golf courses, rail corridors to recreational trails and gas stations to housing.
“EPA’s Brownfields program is an environmental success story, but it’s also an economic success story,” said Mary A. Gade, EPA Region 5 administrator. “These grants are helping local communities reclaim abandoned properties and make them productive again.”
There are three types of federal Brownfields grants. Assessment grants are used to inventory, characterize and assess brownfield sites contaminated by hazardous substances or petroleum; the grants also provide funds for planning and community outreach activities. Cleanup grants are used to clean up contamination at a site and move it closer to re-use. Revolving loan fund grants make cleanup funds available locally. There were no revolving loan fund grants awarded in Indiana this year. IDEM was awarded two grants that will pay for at least 21 environmental site assessments throughout the state. The department’s overall goal is to develop trails and parks in Indiana, increasing recreational opportunities.
Anderson’s grant will be used to create an inventory of petroleum-contaminated brownfield sites. The city plans to redevelop some sites into areas for housing, parks and new opportunities for business investment.
Elkhart will use its grant to assess as many as 30 petroleum-contaminated sites in three target areas: the downtown-West Benham neighborhood, a former manufacturing area on the city’s north side and a central-city residential area. The city plans to create pedestrian plazas, retail centers and green space once these areas are cleaned up.
Fort Wayne will assess and prioritize 15 brownfield sites. The grant will also pay for setting up a site inventory. At least 68 significant brownfield sites have been identified in Fort Wayne.
In Gary, funds will pay for assessment of 10 sites. Their redevelopment will help revitalize Gary’s urban core in four major anchor areas, as well as contribute to restoration of lakeshore areas.
Goshen’s grant will be used to clean up the former Omnisource property in the 500 block of South 3rd Street, which is located in the Millrace Canal Redevelopment Area. The site was a junkyard, and a scrap metal and welding supply outlet for almost 100 years.
Muncie will inventory and prioritize up to 12 sites. Many of Muncie’s brownfield sites are former industrial properties.
Richmond’s grant will be used to clean up the 13-acre Starr Gennett area of the Whitewater Valley Gorge, where pianos and phonograph records were formerly manufactured. Cleanup will allow redevelopment of the site as a park that will be a key component in a 70-mile rails-to-trails project.
In South Bend, the federal grant will pay for environmental site assessments in the city’s commercial corridors.
To date, EPA’s Brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $9.6 billion in cleanup and redevelopment, helped create more than 43,029 jobs and resulted in the assessment of more than 10,504 properties and the cleanup of 180 properties.
This year, 202 applicants nationally were selected to receive 294 grants. EPA will award $70.7 million, which will be used for:
189 assessment grants totaling $36.8 million to conduct site assessment and planning for eventual cleanup at one or more sites or as part of a community-wide effort.
92 cleanup grants totaling $17.9 million for grant recipients to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites they own.
13 revolving loan fund grants totaling $16 million for communities to capitalize a revolving loan fund and to provide subgrants to clean up brownfield sites. Revolving loan funds are generally used to provide low-interest loans for brownfield cleanups.
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