On September 23, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced approximately $13.2 million in supplemental funding to help transform communities by cleaning up contaminated Brownfields properties. Supplemental funding of the Revolving Loan Funding (RLF) will be given to 31 successful RLF grantees helping 44 communities carry out cleanup and redevelopment projects. These projects will help communities create jobs while protecting people’s health and the environment. Many of the RLF cleanups are in under-served and economically disadvantages neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed.
“These funds – granted to communities who have already achieved success in their work to clean up and redevelop brownfields – will help boost local economies, create local jobs and protect people from harmful pollution by expediting Brownfield projects,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “The RLF supplemental recipients are some of the nation’s top performers. Collectively, these communities have already leveraged more than $5 billion in clean up and redevelopment investment – the RLF funding announced today will help sustain that incredible progress.”
The RLF grantees provide a level of funding for cleanups that isn’t available through traditional financing options or through other brownfield grants, serving as the critical gap financing needed to jump-start the redevelopment process. RLF funding is often the last key piece of funding needed to make the cleanup and reuse of the property happen. RLFs specifically supply funding for loans and sub-grants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. When these loans are repaid, the loan amount is then returned to the fund and re-loaned to other borrowers, providing an ongoing sustainable source of capital within a community for additional cleanup of brownfield sites. The supplemental funding to each grantee ranges from about $250,000 to $700,000.
EPA continues to engage and help new communities address barriers to redeveloping sites which are plaguing their communities. All of the grantees selected for funding have significantly depleted their RLF funds and need supplemental funding in order to recapitalize their loan pool to continue making loans and subgrants to clean up brownfields properties. The supplemental funds help keep the cleanup momentum going so that more cleanups can be completed. To date, RLF grantees have completed over 400 cleanups, leveraged approximately 15,000 jobs and over $5 billion of public and private funding.
The grantees receiving supplemental funding this year continue to demonstrate a high-level of preparedness to undertake specific shovel ready projects and have the committed leveraged funds necessary to move projects forward. This year’s supplemental funds will support an array of cleanup and redevelopment projects across the country. For example:
The City of Kansas City, Mo. will use their funding to continue making loans to clean brownfields sites – similar to what they have done at the Ivanhoe Gateway at 39th street project where the RLF helped in the financing of a brownfield cleanup project which enabled the nearly $5M first phase of this $100M redevelopment project to proceed. Construction is underway on seven two-story duplex units to be followed by 12 one-story senior cottages. The entire mixed income, multi-phased development will not only feature the new duplexes and senior cottages, but will also include detached single family units, restoration/rehab of existing buildings, and new infrastructure and green space for the area.
Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission will contribute $500,000 toward a $1,121,000 loan to Biddeford, Maine for the Lincoln Mill site. The site will be a mixed-use development with 92 residential units and a 79-room hotel with meeting space, restaurant, and pool.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) will use its supplemental funding for the Freight Residences in Denver, Colo. The Freight Residence project will include mixed-use residential and commercial spaces. In addition to providing much needed housing for the area, there is also extensive job creation potential from the commercial redevelopment aspects of the project.
Detroit/Wayne County will make a loan to the Henry Ford Community Heath project in Mich. The reuse will support buildings for Henry Ford Hospital as well as mixed-use development including retail near the hospital. The project will create jobs in a community economically disrupted by the closure of auto plants and other manufacturing. RLF funded projects for the Henry Ford Hospital have already leveraged $30 million.
The City of Rockford, Ill. will make a loan to clean up the Rockford Watch Factory. The site will be home to a downtown sports complex. The project has $18 million in state grants, local bonds and City funding.
There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States. EPA’s Brownfields program targets these sites to encourage redevelopment, and help to provide the opportunity for productive community use of contaminated properties. Since the inception of the EPA’s Brownfields Program in 1995, cumulative brownfield program investments have leveraged more than $23.3 billion from a variety of public and private sources for cleanup and redevelopment activities. This equates to an average of $17.79 leveraged per EPA brownfield dollar expended. These investments have resulted in approximately 109,787 jobs nationwide.