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The Race Toward Economic Redevelopment is On EPA to Select 50 Brownfields Pilots by Spring 2000

Release Date: 11/12/1999
Contact Information: Lena Kim (215) 814-3117

Lena Kim (215) 814-3117

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking for communities in the mid-Atlantic region which are eligible for federal funds designated for economic redevelopment of brownfields sites. Nationwide, EPA expects to fund 50 pilots by April 2000.

Brownfields are properties where real or suspected environmental contamination has prevented productive reuse or redevelopment. It is estimated that thousands of these sites with hidden potential exist throughout EPA’s Region III, comprised of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

"EPA created this program to reduce the risks associated with redevelopment. As these sites are assessed and cleaned up, the stigma attached to them is erased, and productive reuse of the land is facilitated," said Abraham Ferdas, who directs the Region’s brownfields program.

Productive reuse runs the gamut from developing commercial and industrial properties, to cultivating greenspaces such as parks, playgrounds, trails and gardens.

Brownfields come in all shapes and sizes, with local success stories including the Northern Liberties area of inner-city Philadelphia. Here, the citizens received EPA assistance in assessing an abandoned tannery site. The property was assessed, cleaned up and is now used as the neighborhood’s only greenspace. Many lesser-known brownfields have made positive and powerful impacts in rural towns and inner cities throughout the mid-Atlantic states.

Selection as an EPA brownfield pilot opens doors to a diverse network of resources including: community groups, investors, lenders, developers interested in coordinating assessment and cleanup efforts. Pilots also benefit greatly from special efforts directed toward removing regulatory barriers. This year, an additional $50,000 may be awarded to an applicant to assess the contamination of a brownfields site(s) that is or will be used for greenspace purposes.

Towns, cities, counties, and state governments, as well as coalitions of government agencies, are eligible to apply. Those interested in applying for the mid-Atlantic region’s grant program should submit their proposal by February 2000. In selecting projects, EPA will focus on firm redevelopment plans, as well as a commitment to both cleanup and redevelopment after the brownfields assessment is completed.

For assistance in developing a proposal for consideration, call (800) 424-9346; or contact Josie Matsinger at (215) 814-3132. For more information on EPA’s brownfields program, check out http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/.

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