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Kalispell (Mont.) receives grant to advance downtown revitalization

Release Date: 10/15/2010
Contact Information: Daniel Heffernan, EPA, 303-312-7074; Richard Mylott, EPA; 303-312-6654; Katharine Thompson, City of Kalispell, 406-758-7713

Brownfields grant latest EPA investment in efforts to assess and redevelop properties

(Denver, Colorado – October 15, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the City of Kalispell up to $175,000 in Brownfields area-wide planning grant funds to advance the clean up and redevelopment of properties in the City’s downtown core. Kalispell is one of 23 communities nationwide receiving a total of $4 million to develop plans for the reuse of brownfields properties. Brownfields are properties where the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants may complicate the properties’ expansion, redevelopment or reuse.

“EPA commends Kalispell’s efforts to redevelop blighted properties through a public process that integrates environmental, economic and social health,” said Jim Martin, EPA’s regional administrator in Denver. “Brownfields planning grants are helping cities like Kalispell achieve cleanup and urban renewal goals more efficiently.”

The City of Kalispell will use the EPA brownfields grant to create a plan for the clean up and redevelopment of blighted tracts throughout the Kalispell Core Revitalization Area, which includes approximately 60 city blocks encompassing 250 acres. At least 17 known brownfields sites are located in the area, including the former Manion Equipment site, now vacant due to petroleum contamination. Future assessment activities may reveal additional brownfields sites in the area.

“This EPA grant is an opportunity to meaningfully involve our community in drawing up strategies, identifying resources and accomplishing next steps to jump start redevelopment in the core area of Kalispell,” said Katharine Thompson, the City of Kalispell’s community development manager. “We look forward to working together to foster a strong and vibrant live-work-play setting that is reflective of our small town charm and attracts private investment, sustainable businesses and visitors.”

The City will develop a plan to assess, clean up and reuse properties in the revitalization area with extensive community involvement. The plan will also incorporate the reuse of the existing rail corridor, integrate parks and open space, and assess telecommunications and road infrastructure as part of a larger vision for redevelopment.

This grant builds on prior EPA support for the City’s efforts. Last year, Kalispell received a $400,000 brownfields grant to conduct environmental assessments of properties in the central core and along Highway 93 on the south side of the City.

Kalispell is among 23 communities receiving $4 million from EPA to develop area-wide plans for the reuse of brownfields properties. EPA will work with the selected projects to identify ways the planning effort can utilize local, state and federal resources to help implement area-wide efforts for housing, transportation, economic growth and healthy communities. Recipients will be able to leverage the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a joint effort between EPA, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Economic Development Administration to identify potential resources to help move the community plans forward.

EPA will award up to $175,000 each per selected recipient to help facilitate community involvement in developing an area-wide plan for a brownfields impacted area, such as a neighborhood, district, city block or corridor. The assistance will be provided through grant funding or agency support.

The Partnership for Sustainable Communities ensures that the agencies’ policies, programs and funding consider affordable housing, transportation and environmental protection together. This interagency collaboration gets better results for communities and uses taxpayer money more efficiently. Coordinating federal investments in infrastructure, facilities and services meets multiple economic, environmental and community objectives with each dollar spent. The partnership is helping communities across the country to create more housing choices, make transportation more efficient and reliable, reinforce existing investments, and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods that attract businesses.

More information on the grant recipients: http://epa.gov/brownfields/areawide_grants.htm

More information on the partnership: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/pdf/partnership_year1.pdf