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Federal, State and Local Officials Celebrate Continuing Redevelopment of Downtown Oklahoma City

Release Date: 07/30/2012
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Jennah Durant at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

(DALLAS – July 30, 2012) At the Oklahoma City Union Station this afternoon, the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Office of the Secretary of Environment, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma Corporation Commission and Oklahoma City celebrated the continuing redevelopment of the Oklahoma City area through EPA’s Brownfields program.

The event highlighted the recent EPA Brownfields assessment grant of $350,000 to perform environmental site assessments at the future MAPS3 Downtown Public Park site. The land was once a prime location for commercial and industrial businesses such as auto repair shops and gas stations, salvage yards, dry cleaners, oil producers and processors, and battery manufacturers.

“Revitalizing former industrial and commercial sites is a smart way to keep our cities great places to live,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Sam Coleman. “EPA is committed to putting both people and property back to work and turning problem properties into community assets.”

The future Downtown Public Park consists of a 40-acre upper section and a 30-acre lower section connected by the Oklahoma City SkyDance pedestrian bridge that spans I-40. The park is within the boundaries of Hudson Avenue on the west, Robinson Avenue on the east, the future Oklahoma City Boulevard on the north and the Oklahoma River to the south.

“Oklahoma City’s Brownfields program has assisted in redevelopment of several key sites in Oklahoma City’s urban core. We appreciate EPA’s funding support of the MAPS 3 Downtown Park and will continue to leverage these resources to improve the quality of life for our citizens,” Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said.

The project will be completed in three phases. The first phase of the upper section will include landscaping along the new Oklahoma City Boulevard and access to the new Oklahoma City SkyDance pedestrian bridge. The second phase of the upper section will include amenities related to the planned programming of the park and the lower section will be completed in the final phase.

“The accomplishments of the Brownfields Program are many in Oklahoma, and the Downtown Public Park will be another success. The funding made possible through the Brownfields program will go toward environmental assessments to determine the scope of work to clean up the property and prepare it to become an Oklahoma City attraction,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Environment Gary Sherrer.

“The mission of the Brownfields program is to revitalize derelict properties and return them to productive use. The Downtown Public Park is an excellent example of the work accomplished through the program. This effort illustrates government working for the people,” said DEQ Executive Director Steven A. Thompson.

The EPA Brownfields program has partnered with the ODEQ, the OCC, Oklahoma Energy Resources Board and the city to assess and remediate many key sites in Oklahoma City such as the Devon Energy site, the Skirvin, Dell Center, Bricktown Fire Station, American Indian Cultural Center, First National Building and Dowell Center.

The EPA’s Brownfields program empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, clean up and sustainably reuse brownfields. A brownfield site is real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was passed to help states and communities around the country clean up and revitalize brownfields sites. Under this law, the EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through four competitive grant programs: Assessment grants, Revolving Loan Fund grants, Cleanup grants, and Job Training grants. Additionally, funding support is provided to state and tribal response programs through a separate mechanism.

More information on EPA’s brownfields program is available at http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/

More about activities in EPA Region 6 is available at http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region6.html

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