Cambria and Somerset Counties get $1.4 Million for Brownfields Redevelopment
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh today awarded the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority with $1.2 million and awarded the neighboring borough of Central City, Somerset County, with $200,000 to continue ongoing efforts to assess and clean properties contaminated by hazardous substances. Welsh made the announcement from the historic Cambria Iron Works’ blacksmith shop, which is currently undergoing cleanup with EPA and other funding and will be redeveloped into an educational museum and artisans’ workshop.
Brownfields are properties where redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the real or perceived presence of hazardous substances.
“EPA is pleased to continue our partnerships with Johnstown and Central City -- western Pennsylvania communities that have proven that applying an aggressive approach to brownfields redevelopment with a strong dose of creativity brings results,” said Welsh, EPA administrator for the mid-Atlantic region.“ EPA’s brownfields program has leveraged more than $9.6 billion in brownfields cleanup and redevelopment funding nationwide, and for every acre of brownfields that is restored, an estimated 4.5 acres of green space is preserved.”
Johnstown Redevelopment Authority: Of the $1.2 million awarded to the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority, $1 million will provide low-interest loans for the cleanup of brownfields throughout the county. The remaining $200,000 will go towards assessing properties contaminated with hazardous substances. Previous EPA funding totaling $1.4 million has been used to: revitalize the former Cambria Iron Works site, a registered national historic landmark now home to new industrial tenants and a state park; assess the site of the new $40 million Greater Johnstown High School Complex, and assess and clean up several brownfield parcels downtown to create the Conemaugh Hospital Regional Technology Complex.
Central City Borough: Today’s $200,000 award continues the financial and technical support that EPA has provided Central City over the past several years. Previous EPA funding totaling $440,000 has been used to inventory and assess brownfields properties throughout the borough, and prioritize those sites for potential development.
For what is called the Dark Shade Brownfield Project, Central City is focused on the future restoration of mine-scarred properties and acid mine drainage discharge sites. Redevelopment goals include bringing back fishing along the Laurel Run and creating a community recreation area in former mine-scarred lands.
These grants bring the total of brownfield grant awards made this year throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to $3.2 million, and brings the total since the inception of EPA’s brownfields grant program to over $22 million.
Nationwide, EPA awarded communities in 38 states with brownfields grants worth $70.9 million this year alone. For more information on grant recipients, go to http://www.epa.gov/brownfields.
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