Brighton, Colorado leaders celebrate a new phase of cleaning and reusing toxic, blighted properties in their downtown core

On June 9, 2023, at an event in downtown Brighton, Colorado, representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined city officials and local leaders to announce a $500,000 Brownfields Assessment grant to document the level of contamination of properties whose reuse would help economically revitalize the city.

I’m looking forward to the impact this funding will have on Brighton,” said Congresswoman Yadira Caraveo.

Not only will it jumpstart existing local businesses, it will help keep our community safe and healthy. Better yet, by investing in this revitalization now, we can continue to attract businesses who will serve Brighton and boost our local economy for years to come,” she continued.

The EPA funding would allow the city to conduct environmental site assessments, develop cleanup plans, and conduct community outreach activities at contaminated properties in the Brighton’s downtown core.

Brighton will use the EPA grant to address priority sites with redevelopment potential, including a warehouse and former grain elevator destroyed by fires and an abandoned cannery and warehouse.  

Revitalization plans for these properties include new housing, mixed-use development, industrial space, marketplaces, restaurants, breweries, community gathering and event spaces, and artisan locations. 

The City of Brighton has put together a comprehensive plan to strategically assess, clean up and redevelop downtown properties to contribute to the future health and vitality of the community,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker.

We look forward to seeing these projects address contamination concerns at sites and pave the way for their productive reuse,” she added.

Sites prioritized for assessment and cleanup include the former Tortilleria Cuauhtemoc, the Brighton Grain Elevator, the Midland Cereal Building, the Wilmore Canning Factory (The Cannery), Petroleum Wholesale Inc., and other properties in the downtown area.

Most targeted properties are adjacent to the railroad, resulting in persistent concerns about arsenic and other potential contaminants, including heavy metals, asbestos, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and furans, polychlorinated biphenyls, polyfluorinated compounds and petroleum compounds.  

The City is excited to be awarded this grant as it will be used to assist property owners in formulating plans to repurpose underutilized sites in Brighton,” said Mayor Gregory Mills.

We feel this grant will help us attract more employment, tourism, retail options and investment in core areas of the City. We are grateful to the EPA for investing in Brighton’s bright future,“ he explained.

EPA’s award to the City of Brighton is among seven Brownfields grants totaling more than $5 million for cleanup and revitalization projects in communities across Colorado. Other grantees are receiving funds for projects in Buena Vista, Pueblo, Silverton, San Luis, San Miguel County and Trinidad. 

Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever begin to address the economic, social and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.

EPA’s Brownfields Program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative to direct 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities. Approximately 84% of the MARC program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include historically underserved communities.

EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.37 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. EPA’s investments in addressing brownfield sites have leveraged more than $36 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Communities that previously received Brownfields Grants used these resources to fund assessments and cleanups of brownfields, and successfully leverage an average of 10.6 jobs per $100,000 of grant funds spent and $19.78 for every dollar.

Photo courtesy of the City of Brighton, Colorado.

Learn more about EPA’s Brownfields Grants program.

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