Missouri town wins $600,000 in brownfields funding to revitalize neighborhood plagued by many past environmental injustices

On May 21, 2021 in Howardville, Missouri, the Howardville Community Betterment Committee was selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to receive $600,000 in EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Program.

The Howardville Community Betterment Committee, overjoyed with the opportunity to partner and assist three coalition partners, is in the first steps of modeling the Howardville Community School Brownfield project with North Lilbourn, Homestown, and Hayti Heights in New Madrid and Pemiscot counties,” said Vannessa Frazier, executive director of the Howardville Community Betterment organization.

Our focus is assisting with the planning phases and implementation of the EPA Coalition Assessment Grant. This grant will allow the process of addressing environmental issues from the ground up to begin,” she added.

The committee plans to conduct cleanup and reuse planning activities, develop a community involvement plan, and hold community meetings in the cities of Howardville, Homestown, Hayti Heights, and the village of North Lilbourn in Missouri.

Priority sites include a former agricultural property, a junkyard, a former auto repair facility, and vacant sites with historic dumping activity.

Communities can achieve important outcomes with Brownfields MAC funding,” said Acting EPA Region 7 Administrator Edward H. Chu.

The Howardville Community Betterment Committee will use the funds to perform environmental site assessments, conduct cleanup and reuse planning activities, and do community outreach. They’re focusing on the needs of residents and how to build resilient and thriving neighborhoods for the Howardville, Homestown, Hayti Heights, and the North Lilbourn communities,” he continued.

The list of the fiscal year 2021 applicants selected for funding is available at: www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2021-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants.

EPA anticipates that it will award the grants once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied by the selected recipients.

Through our Brownfields Program, EPA is delivering on the Biden administration’s commitment to lifting up and protecting overburdened communities across America, especially communities that have experienced long periods of disinvestment and decay,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

These assessment and cleanup grants will not only support economic growth and job creation, but they will also empower communities to address the environmental, public health, and social issues associated with contaminated land,” he added.

Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s Brownfields Program has provided nearly $1.76 billion in grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return them to productive reuse. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. For example:

To date, communities participating in the Brownfields Program have been able to attract over $34.4 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding after receiving Brownfields funds. This has led to over 175,500 jobs in cleanup, construction and redevelopment.

Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged an average of $20.13 for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements. In addition, an academic peer-reviewed study has found that residential properties near brownfield sites increased in value by 5% to 15.2% as a result of cleanup activities.

Finally, analyzing data near 48 brownfields, EPA found an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup – two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfield sites.

Photo courtesy of EPA.

Learn more about Brownfields Grants.

Learn more about EPA’s Brownfields Program.

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