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EPA awards Brownfields grants to seven Wisconsin communities and state agency


Six Wisconsin cities and one Indian reservation have been awarded a total of $3.2 million in federal Brownfields grants, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5. The largest grant awarded in Wisconsin was a $1 million award to the Milwaukee Redevelopment Authority. The cities of Baraboo, Green Bay and West Allis, as well as Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, will receive grants totaling $400,000. Kenosha, Ripon and the St. Croix Chippewa Indian Reservation will each receive a $200,000 grant.

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.”

Three types of federal grants were announced today. Assessment grants are used to inventory, characterize and assess 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.

Milwaukee’s Redevelopment Authority will use its grant to create a revolving loan fund that will provide loans and subgrants for the cleanup of sites contaminated by hazardous substances. The focus will be on the Menomonee River valley and the 30th Street Industrial Corridor, which have the highest population density and lowest incomes in the state.

A cleanup grant was awarded to the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. The funds will be used to clean up hazardous substances in the area known as Site 18, also called the Round Lake Dump.

The remaining grants awarded in Wisconsin are all assessment grants.

Baraboo will receive two separate grants for the assessment of up to 12 sites, primarily in the downtown residential neighborhoods that surround the waterfront area. The city plans to leverage private redevelopment resources to revitalize the waterfront area with mixed-used developments, and tourist-related retail and recreational opportunities.

In Green Bay, the federal funds will be used to create a brownfield site inventory. As many as 32 site assessments will also be done. Green Bay’s brownfield redevelopment plans are focused on creating affordable housing in three areas: downtown Green Bay, and the Velp and Webster Avenue corridors.

Kenosha’s grant will be used to develop a community-wide brownfield inventory and prioritize sites for assessment. Brownfield redevelopment will help Kenosha move from a manufacturing-based economy to a technology- and service-based economy.

Ripon will use its grant to assess up to 22 sites in the Silver Creek downtown area. Assessments will help the city leverage funding for cleanup and redevelopment, which is expected to include a downtown commercial area and restoring wildlife and aquatic life habitat along the creek.

At least 372 brownfield sites have been identified in West Allis. The city’s Brownfields grants will pay for up to 30 site assessments in five redevelopment areas within industrial corridors, residential neighborhoods and commercial districts.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources plans to use its grants for site assessments in Milwaukee’s 30th Street Industrial Corridor, which has 200 known brownfield sites.

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 brownfield 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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