Waterloo, Iowa cheers future revitalization of historic 1908 4.4-acre brownfield that has long plagued the community

On June 8, 2023 at the Crystal Cold Storage site in Waterloo, Iowa, EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister presented a $642,400 ceremonial check to the City of Waterloo as a Brownfields Cleanup Grant selectee.

McCollister was joined by city leaders Mayor Quentin Hart and Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Executive Officer for Brownfield Redevelopment Program Mel Pins.

EPA has selected the City of Waterloo for this grant that will be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Grant funds will be used to clean up the former Rath Buildings property at 1442 Sycamore Street.

The 4.4-acre cleanup site contains four interconnected brick structures and was operated as a meat packing plant from 1908 to 1985.

Some of the remaining buildings are currently used for cold warehousing.

The cleanup would remove the contamination of asbestos-containing building materials.

Grant funds also will be used to conduct two public meetings and support other community engagement activities.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation financial investment in our communities,” McCollister said.

We are incredibly proud to see a portion of this historic investment go to benefit the City of Waterloo, creating economic opportunity and a healthier environment for all,” she added.

“We are strongly encouraged by the partnership between the EPA and the City of Waterloo to impact business growth and development through this sizeable grant, Hart said.

To see renewed activity in the historic Rath neighborhood will help ensure that the area is environmentally sound, produces more jobs, and expands Crystal’s business footprint: A win for all involved!” he continued.

These investments are part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to revitalize the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $470 billion in private-sector manufacturing and clean-energy investments in the United States.

They will also create a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, build a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.

EPA has selected these organizations to receive funding to address and support the reuse of brownfield sites. EPA anticipates making all the recently announced awards, once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.37 billion in Brownfields Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. EPA’s investments in addressing brownfield sites have leveraged over $36 billion in cleanup and redevelopment.

Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding has leveraged nearly 260,000 jobs from both public and private sources. Communities that previously received Brownfields Grants used these resources to fund assessments and cleanups of brownfields, and successfully leveraged an average of 10.6 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds spent and $19.78 for every dollar.

The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on August 8-11, 2023, in Detroit, Michigan. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing former commercial and industrial properties. EPA co-sponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

Photo (courtesy of U.S. EPA) shows EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister (right) presenting a $642,400 ceremonial check to Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart (left) and Waterloo Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson in Waterloo, Iowa, on June 8, 2023.

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