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FEDERAL EPA GIVES MORE THAN $1 MILLION FOR SMART GROWTH AND BROWNFIELDS; PROJECT TO BENEFIT RHODE ISLAND IS WORTH $50,000

Release Date: 12/16/1999
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week announced more than $1 million in funding to help cities and towns throughout New England grow in ways that protect the quality and health of their communities.

The funding includes a total of $225,000 in Livable Communities Grants, which are being awarded for the first time this year to help seven communities and regions manage their growth. The funding also includes $785,000 for 12 Targeted Brownfields Assessments to assess contamination at vacant or underutilized properties, which the communities plan to redevelop.

EPA-New England announced it will perform a targeted brownfields assessment worth $50,000 at Narragansett Landing in Providence. The funding will pay for an assessment of contamination at the two-mile industrial waterfront area slated for mixed use redevelopment. The city is seeking help with reviewing and summarizing available reports.

Mindy Lubber, EPA-New England's Deputy Administrator, noted that plans by communities to reuse vacant or abandoned lots, known as brownfields, play a major role in revitalizing urban centers and protecting open spaces from sprawl.

"These grants to assess contamination and clean-up requirements for old and abandoned parcels will help communities put the land to good use in the future," Lubber said. "Communities who are actively looking for ways to renew their urban centers can count on our support and encouragement."

Funds for Targeted Brownfields Assessments are also going to projects in Lowell, Holyoke, Northampton, Gloucester and Quincy, Mass.; Derby and Shelton, Conn.; Orono, Maine; and to Milton and Mont Vernon, NH.

Organizations that have been chosen to receive the first round of Livable Community Grants are:

    • The Conservation Law Foundation, based in Boston, for developing a guidebook to help New England towns and cities use zoning to curb sprawl;
    • Mad River Valley Planning District in Vermont to direct development around the Irasville area towards a growth center and relieve pressures in rural areas of Irasville;
    • Vermont Forum on Sprawl for a project to identify best practices for new development in Chittenden County and Vermont and include them in a guidebook;
    • Charles River Watershed Association to help the town of Holliston, Mass., assess future drinking water and wastewater disposal needs and develop related land use plans;
    • Alternatives for Community Environment, a Boston-based organization, to help bring together community residents to promote smart growth strategies for two to four sites in Roxbury;
    • Maine State Planning Office for its Home Town Maine project to stem sprawl and restore neighborhoods around the state;
    • Connecticut River Watershed Council to convene a growth forum on urban revitalization and sustainable agriculture in the valley between Hartford and Springfield.
Livable Communities Grants were made available as a direct result of EPA-New England's Smart Growth Conference, held last February in Boston, which was attended by more than 1,000 business, political and environmental leaders. At that time, EPA's New England Administrator John P. DeVillars recognized the importance of providing resources to towns and cities interested in managing growth.

"We are delighted to support communities throughout New England who are taking a lead in developing critical tools and methods for addressing unchecked and unplanned development," Deputy Administrator Lubber said. "Through these and other smart growth efforts, we can make New England a national model for livability in the 21st Century."