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City of Cheyenne receives $1M for downtown property revitalization

Release Date: 06/07/2011
Contact Information: EPA, Richard Mylott 303-312-6654; City of Cheyenne, Matt Ashby, 307-637-6284

EPA Brownfields grant to address soil and water contamination, reduce flood hazards

(Denver, Colorado — June 7, 2011)  At a ceremony today at a redevelopment project in downtown Cheyenne, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Jim Martin presented Mayor Rick Kaysen with a $1 million Brownfields grant to advance the assessment, cleanup and redevelopment of properties in the downtown area.  This grant will be used by a City-led coalition to assess soil and groundwater contamination and reduce flood hazards at several properties. Today’s announcement is part of $76 million in EPA Brownfields funds awarded to 214 communities nationally to advance property revitalization, job creation and economic development.

"The City of Cheyenne has built a strong coalition that is taking strategic steps to open doors for projects that create jobs and attract investment in the downtown area," said EPA Regional Administrator, Jim Martin. "This grant will help the City advance the assessment, cleanup and redevelopment of several properties.” 

The City will work closely with Laramie County and the Downtown Development Authority to conduct environmental assessments at several dozen properties.  The results of these assessments will clearly identify the type and extent of contamination on sites and will help the City and its partners prioritize cleanup actions, reduce impacts to human health and provide certainty to developers interested in investing in properties. EPA Brownfields assessment grant funds will also be used to identify opportunities to improve stormwater management and reduce the transport of contaminants to local waterways at properties prone to flooding.  This work will help the City achieve the community defined goals outlined in PlanCheyenne, an integrated master plan for the City of Cheyenne and Laramie County.

"The Brownfields project is just one more way we can motivate redevelopment and positive progress in Downtown Cheyenne,” said City of Cheyenne Planning Services Director, Matt Ashby.  “It’s exciting to be a part of an effort that has such a broad spectrum of benefits for downtown: improving the environment while motivating redevelopment; addressing stormwater retention and filtration while adding greenscape; reducing flooding potential to encourage investment; and adding green infrastructure to make downtown livable. The result is a triple bottom net that impacts our citizens' safety, environment, and economy."

"The partnership in this coalition demonstrates that we are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a commitment to make Downtown Cheyenne the location of choice for business and citizens who a looking for a place to live, work, and play," said Cheyenne Mayor Rick Kaysen. "This multi-faceted approach demonstrates our ongoing commitment to restoring Downtown Cheyenne."

The City of Cheyenne has made the clean up and redevelopment of properties in the downtown area a priority.  The recently redeveloped Union Pacific Railroad Depot has become a centerpiece for the City’s urban core.  The City has identified other properties with potential for revitalization, however, soil and groundwater contamination issues have been an obstacle to redevelopment.  Known or potential contaminants at sites include petroleum compounds and chlorinated solvents, metals, polycyclic aromatic compounds, and asbestos.

Since its inception, EPA’s brownfields investments have leveraged more than $16.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding from a variety of public and private sources and have resulted in approximately 70,000 jobs. Brownfields grants also target under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed.

More information on the FY2011 grant recipients by state: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/pilot_grants.htm

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

More information on brownfields success stories:
http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/success/index.htm