2020 Brownfields Grants Awards in the Pacific Southwest
In May 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced thirteen communities in EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region were selected to receive a total of nearly $6.6 million to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency’s Brownfields Program. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities, including neighborhoods located in Opportunity Zones, in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. These awards are part of the national announcement that 151 communities are selected to receive grant awards totaling over $65.6 million.
City of Phoenix
Brownfields Communitywide Assessment Coalition Grant ($600,000) – EPA selected the City of Phoenix for a Brownfields Communitywide Assessment Coalition Grant that targets brownfield sites in the Rio Reimagined Project area for cleanup and reuse. The City of Phoenix is the coalition lead for the cities of Avondale and Tempe, as well as Arizona State University. The grant target area is one mile on either side of the 45-mile stretch of the Salt River (Rio Salado), Agua Fria and Gila Rivers. Although there is enormous potential for future development in this area, over 1000 properties have environmental records, which contribute to blight and discourage investment. The Rio Reimagined Project encompasses more than 78,000 acres and aspires to reconnect the community with the rivers, becoming a catalyst for economic growth and inclusion. This project builds on previous EPA Brownfields grants and was recently designated an Urban Waters project, supported by multiple federal agencies.
City of Phoenix
Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund ($800,000) – The City of Phoenix was selected to receive a Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund grant to cleanup brownfield properties in seven target areas: the Del Rio Brownfields Planning Project Area, seven designated Neighborhood Initiative Areas, two designated Redevelopment Areas, 42 Opportunity Zones, the West Phoenix Revitalization Area, the Rio Reimagined Project Area, and Phoenix Brownfields-to-Healthfields Project Areas. The city will collaborate with the Local Initiatives Support Corp (LISC) to engage local grassroots groups, for-profit developers and government agencies to finance projects that will help Phoenix become a sustainable, connected and smart desert city. This award leverages several other recent investments to spur economic, community and local food development, such as the 2015 U.S. EPA Brownfields-to-Healthfields Communitywide Assessment grant ($300,000), the 2010 U.S. EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning grant ($175,000) for the Del Rio planning area and the Communitywide Coalition Assessment grant for the Rio Reimagined target area that they also received during this funding cycle.
City of South Tucson
Brownfields Assessment Grant ($300,000) – The City of South Tucson was selected to receive a Brownfields Community Wide Assessment grant, which will support brownfield assessments and redevelopment planning in the Central Business District (CBD), sites immediately surrounding the CBD and two key business corridors - Fourth Avenue and Sixth Avenue. The CBD area comprises almost 100 acres along the city’s southern boundary. Fourth Avenue is home to famous Mexican food restaurants and retail, and Sixth Avenue is the main business corridor. While these areas are characterized by abandoned or blighted motels and gasoline service stations, as well as closed or underutilized retail and manufacturing facilities, the city plans to leverage this funding to support sustainable and equitable development practices. Specifically, the city wants to encourage development for the current residents who have historically lived in this predominantly Hispanic community, thereby preserving the culture and community pride. This grant will build on previous EPA Brownfields-funded work in the City of South Tucson.
California Department of Toxic Substances Control
Brownfields Assessment Grant ($300,000) – DTSC was selected to receive a Brownfields Assessment grant to focus on the City of San Bernardino. The focus of this grant is Downtown revitalization, specifically in the Carousel Mall area, where the city supports mixed-use redevelopment. As part of this project, DTSC plans to implement the “National Association for County and City Health Officials Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health,” which is community-based process for understanding and addressing local environmental health concerns. In addition to their partnership with the city, DTSC will work with local health departments and the California State University San Bernardino.
City of Fresno
Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund ($800,000) – The City of Fresno was selected to receive a Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund grant to cleanup brownfield properties in the 4.9‐square‐mile Transform Fresno Project Area, which includes Downtown, Chinatown and Southwest Fresno. This award leverages several other recent investments to spur economic, community and affordable housing development, such as the 2019 U.S. EPA Brownfields Communitywide Assessment grant ($600,000) and the 2018 California Strategic Growth Council Transformative Climate Communities grant ($66.5 million). Collectively, these grants will support the identification, cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields in the heart of Fresno.
City of Lodi
Brownfields Assessment Grant ($300,000) – The City of Lodi was selected to receive a Brownfields Assessment Grant for property assessment and redevelopment and cleanup planning. The target area includes the city’s downtown, historical industrial areas and economically disadvantaged residential areas bordering the main rail line and spur that runs through Lodi. This grant aims to benefit approximately 25,000 residents living within the 3.2 square mile target areas. The city has identified multiple priority brownfield sites: the former General Mills production facility, abandoned buildings in downtown, a former cinema and the former Piemonte Hotel property. The reuse plans for these priority sites will advance community and municipal goals including educational opportunities and strategic investment in job creation and job training. This project builds on a prior EPA Brownfields grant to the city in 2015.
City of Los Angeles
Brownfields Cleanup Grant ($500,000) – The City of Los Angeles was selected to receive a Brownfields Cleanup Grant to remediate 6.1 acres along the Paseo del Rio area, which is part of the larger Taylor Yard G2 River Park project along the Los Angeles River. The City of Los Angeles is partnering with over 60 stakeholder groups, including Mujeres de la Tierra, Friends of the Los Angeles River and the Greater Cypress Park Neighborhood Council. This property, once remediated, will provide an array of public uses and benefits, including public green space, recreation, restored natural habitat, stormwater management, flood protection and river access.
City of Mount Shasta
Brownfields Cleanup Grant ($500,000) – The City of Mt. Shasta was selected to receive a Brownfields Cleanup Grant to remediate a portion of a former 127-acre lumber mill with contamination originating from waste burning and electrical operations. The site was used for lumber mill operations from the early 1900s until the late 1960s and will be redeveloped along with other remediated areas of the former mill site into several uses: light industrial and commercial space, an RV Park, a performing arts theatre, office space and a recreation park. The redeveloped site will be connected to major roadways and a greenway trail system that promotes habitat restoration, wilderness preservation and wildlife viewing.
Richmond Community Foundation
Brownfields Assessment Grant ($300,000) – The Richmond Community Foundation, a nonprofit in the City of Richmond, was selected to receive a Brownfields Assessment grant. This project will focus on assessing abandoned and foreclosed properties within five predominantly residential neighborhoods – Belding Woods, Coronado, Iron Triangle, Pullman and Santa Fe. Subsequent to property assessment, Richmond Community Foundation will leverage funding from the Richmond Housing Renovation Social Impact Bond to cleanup and redevelop these properties into homes for low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers. This grant builds on previous EPA Brownfields Assessment and Revolving Loan Fund grants to the City of Richmond.
Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency
Brownfields Cleanup Grant ($350,000) – The City of Sacramento was selected to receive a Brownfields Cleanup Grant to transform a former commercial and industrial area into the Mirasol Village Light Rail Station, which will serve the soon-to-be-developed mixed-income housing project, Mirasol Village. This project is a catalyst for the transformation of Sacramento’s River District, turning an underutilized area into a highly functional community asset and connecting this area to Downtown. This project leverages significant resources from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, as well as the State of California Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) grant. Over $17 million of the TCC grant is secured for construction of the Mirasol Village Light Rail station once the property is cleaned up.
Sierra Institute for Community and Environment
Brownfields Cleanup Grant ($500,000) – The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment was selected to receive a Brownfields Cleanup Grant to remediate several sites within a former 28-acre lumber mill in Crescent Mills. Redevelopment plans include an integrative wood utilization campus that will create renewable energy and valuable products out of low-value biomass material removed from surrounding forests. The campus will include a community-scale biomass-powered combined heat and power facility, a wood chipping facility, and other businesses focused around wood product utilization. Ecosystem restoration and resiliency to wildfires are anticipated co-benefits of the project. These enterprises will spur the local economy and create jobs lost to the declining timber industry.
Susanville Indian Rancheria
Brownfields Cleanup Grant ($441,545) – The Susanville Indian Rancheria was selected to receive a Brownfields Cleanup Grant to remediate a portion of a former 10-acre ranch with contamination originating from equipment maintenance and agricultural activities. The site was in operation from the 1940s until 2002 and is adjacent to a pond and wetland area in a critical watershed on the Rancheria. The site will be redeveloped into a permanent Powwow ground to conduct traditional cultural ceremonies, a wetlands interpretative area and associated parking. Remediation of the site will remove the major contamination threat to the Rancheria’s watershed.
City of Reno
Brownfields Communitywide Assessment Coalition Grant ($600,000) – The City of Reno was selected for a Brownfields Communitywide Coalition Assessment grant that will support brownfields assessments and cleanup planning in Downtown Reno. The project will focus on a blighted, vacant former railroad corridor located between the Lincoln Highway and adjacent Truckee River corridor within a federally designated Opportunity Zone. Redevelopment will support creation of workforce housing and space for professional offices and small retail/service shops, restoration of the riverfront and expansion of local bus transit. The Coalition partners are the Reno Redevelopment Agency and the Community Foundation of Western Nevada. EPA grant funding is expected to leverage over $350M in new development in the target area.
American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency
Brownfields Assessment Grant ($300,000) – American Samoa EPA was selected to receive a Brownfields Communitywide Assessment grant that will support brownfields assessment and cleanup planning in the Pago Pago Harbor area. American Samoa has experienced several devastating events, including the 2018 Tropical Cyclone Gita and other tropical storms where high winds destroyed buildings and torrential rains caused flooding throughout the island. The funds will be used to assess the environmental damage in the Pago Pago harbor and work with partners toward sustainable redevelopment.