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EPA awards Brownfields grants to eight Ohio communities


Eight Ohio cities have been awarded a total of $4.4 million in federal Brownfields grants, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5. The cities of Cleveland, Tiffin, Barberton, Lorain and Sandusky will each receive a total of $400,000 in grants. The city of Springfield and the Ironton Port Authority are slated to receive $200,000 each. The largest amount, a total of $2 million, will go to Ohio Department of Development.

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 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.

Ohio Department of Development will use its grants to create a brownfield revolving loan fund that will provide loans and subgrants for the cleanup of sites contaminated with hazardous substances and petroleum. ODD will join with the Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Removal in providing funds for the cleanup of former gas stations around the state. The partners will also focus on the city of Hamilton for the cleanup of hazardous substances. Hamilton is a federally designated Renewal Community.

Springfield will use its grant to clean up contaminated soil and ground water at the 65-acre former International Truck and Engine Corp. Assembly Plant at 2069 Lagonda Ave.

All remaining grants awarded in Ohio this year are assessment grants.

Barberton’s grants will pay for up to 11 assessments, primarily in the city’s downtown corridor.

Cleveland will use two separate grants to conduct eight environmental assessments at sites that are a priority for the city’s Industrial/Commercial Land Bank, created in 2005 to encourage re-use of properties in disadvantaged areas.

Ironton Port Authority’s grant will pay for up to nine assessments of sites in the city of Ironton contaminated by petroleum, primarily abandoned gas and oil wells and abandoned gas stations.

Lorain will use the federal grants for up to 11 assessments, which will help the city leverage state cleanup funds and private investment.

Sandusky will use its grants to conduct up to 18 site assessments, primarily for the Eastern Waterfront District and the Downtown Waterfront District.

In Tiffin, the Brownfields grants will pay for up to seven site assessments to identify priority brownfield sites and determine the extent of contamination.

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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