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EPA Announces $850,000 in Grants to Clean Up Contaminated Sites in Duluth; State to Receive a Total of $2,650,000 in Grants and Loans

Release Date: 06/07/2012
Contact Information: Joshua Singer, 312-353-5069, singer.joshua@epa.gov, Francisco Arcaute, 312-886-7613, arcaute.francisco@epa.gov

For Immediate Release No. 12-OPA046

EPA Announces $850,000 in Grants to Clean Up Contaminated Sites in Duluth; State to Receive a Total of $2,650,000 in Grants and Loans

(CHICAGO – June 7, 2012) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Susan Hedman today joined Mayor Don Ness at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center to announce $850,000 in grants to redevelop contaminated properties, create jobs and protect public health in Duluth. The city and the Duluth Economic Development Authority will use these “brownfield grants” to assess and clean up abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

Previous EPA brownfield grants helped to assess the Clyde Iron Works site so it could be cleaned up and redeveloped. The former brownfield site is now the Duluth Heritage Sports Center.

"EPA's brownfield grants will be used to clean up contaminated sites along the St. Louis River and Lake Superior shoreline in Duluth," said EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman. "These grants will help to expand recreational opportunities and create jobs.”

The Duluth Economic Development Authority will receive a $200,000 brownfield grant to clean up hazardous substances at Bayfront Lot D on the 900 to 1000 block of Railroad Street. The site, which once housed freight depots, warehouses and manufacturing businesses, has been abandoned and is contaminated with polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals and petroleum waste. The Duluth Economic Development Authority wants to redevelop the site as part of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Safe Harbor system for recreational boaters, which would help stimulate redevelopment and investment in the area.

“Our partnership with the EPA has been critical to DEDA’s ability to prepare sites for productive development. This grant will serve as a catalyst to significant private sector investment,” said Nancy Norr, Vice President of DEDA.

The city will also receive a $650,000 Revolving Loan Fund grant for the cleanup of hazardous substances. This grant will be used to clean up brownfield sites throughout the city, with special emphasis on the St. Louis River/Lake Superior Shoreline Corridor Project Area. More than half of Duluth’s industrial brownfields are in the corridor, which extends from downtown to the western end of the city and northwest to Skyline Parkway. The St. Louis River flows into Lake Superior in the corridor, forming the world’s largest freshwater estuary. Ten of the streams that flow into the estuary within the Corridor are designated trout streams.

“Properties along the St. Louis River Corridor hold some of the greatest potential in the City for redevelopment that will result in the growth of jobs, tax base and population. There is also potential for increased recreational access to the St. Louis River. But assessment and cleanup of brownfield properties is complex and costly; we constantly strive to have as many ‘tools’ in the toolbox to address these challenges, and the two grants announced today will be effective tools,” said Heidi Timm-Bijold, Duluth’s Acting Director for Business and Economic Development.

The Duluth grants are part of the EPA’s $69.3 million 2012 nationwide brownfield grants to clean up and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies, create jobs and protect public health. Since 2002, EPA has awarded more than $2 million in brownfield grants to Duluth.

See a list of all awarded brownfield grants by state: http://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/

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

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