News Releases from Region 05
EPA Selects Seven Communities in Indiana to Receive $2.7 Million for Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment
INDIANA - (May 6, 2020) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that seven communities and organizations in Indiana have been selected to receive a total of $2,704,000 to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the EPA’s Brownfields program. The seven Indiana communities and organizations that will receive EPA Brownfield grants are Crawfordsville; Greenfield; Henry County; Logansport; the River Hills Economic Development District and Regional Planning Commission for projects in Corydon, Charlestown and New Albany; the Southern Indiana Development Commission for projects in Washington, Vincennes, and Bedford; and Terre Haute. Under President Trump’s Administration, EPA has delivered approximately $287 million in Brownfield grants directly to communities and nonprofits for cleanup and redevelopment, job creation, and economic development through the award of over 948 grants
“These communities are ready to move forward with redevelopment, they just lacked the funding to take that next step,” said EPA Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede. “EPA’s Brownfields grants help jump-start the process by providing support for assessments and cleanups.”
“This new funding will go a long way in revitalizing communities across Indiana,” said Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Commissioner Bruno Pigott. “We are grateful that the EPA continues to invest in Indiana to make the environment safer for all Hoosiers.”
“The EPA’s Brownfields Program helps communities create assets out of contaminated sites, and these Brownfields Assessment Grants will help several Indiana communities and their surrounding areas conduct environmental site assessments, develop cleanup and reuse plans, and plan community outreach events. I look forward to seeing the benefits these areas will reap from this investment in their communities,” said Sen. Mike Braun.
“Brownfield Grants help fund projects in Hoosier communities that encourage job growth, improve the environment, and stimulate local economies by redeveloping sites previously exposed to hazardous material. These grants will help our communities in the Sixth District of Indiana continue to grow in a healthy way,” said U.S. Rep. Greg Pence (IN-06). “Thank you to the Trump Administration for recognizing the importance of local environmental infrastructure. Hoosiers in the Sixth District appreciate the support to revitalize our environment and economy.”
“The Environmental Protection Agency’s important Brownfields Program leads the way for communities to clean up and repurpose contaminated land for the benefit of the community,” said U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon (IN-08). “I am pleased to see these grants awarded in two communities in Southwest and West Central, Indiana that will lead to economic development and growth for Hoosiers in these areas.”
“Our communities are always hard at work making Indiana an even better place to live and attract more businesses and economic growth here. I look forward to the assistance these assessment grants will bring to Corydon, Charlestown, New Albany, and Bedford,” said U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09).
“Today’s announcement is welcome news for the cities of Crawfordsville and Logansport. Hoosiers are dedicated to advancing economic development while protecting our environment. I’m confident that Crawfordsville and Logansport will use this opportunity to transform these brownfields into clean and vibrant parts of their community,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Baird (IN-04).
Nationwide, this year, the agency is announcing the selection of 155 grants for communities and tribes totaling over $65.6 million in EPA brownfields funding the agency’s Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant Programs. 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. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Of the 151 total communities selected, 118 of these communities can potentially assess or clean up brownfield sites in census tracts designated in these zones. In addition, nearly 30% of the communities selected today will receive brownfields funding for the first time.
In Crawfordsville, $300,000 of EPA community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct environmental site assessments, support community engagement and reuse planning activities, focusing on the Downtown North Edge, which contains a Qualified Opportunity Zone, and the Southeast Side Neighborhood. Priority sites include a former power plant, former coal storage, a former industrial site, and two former gas stations.
“We are very excited to learn that the City of Crawfordsville has been awarded Brownfields Community-wide Assessment Grant Funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We have made great strides in moving our community forward and redeveloping areas that had suffered and become blighted. However, we are still faced with areas that are especially challenging because they contain brownfield sites that create uncertainty based on our lack of accurate assessment information. We often find that once we are able to assess these sites, and obtain accurate information, the uncertainty is mitigated and we are able to create viable plans for remediation, and ultimately, return these areas to productive use, while reducing threats to public health and safety. This funding will allow us to finally take the important first steps for key areas within our city, that have stood idle for far too long, and we are very appreciative that the U.S. EPA has chosen to invest in Crawfordsville,” said City of Crawfordsville Mayor Todd D. Barton.
In Greenfield, $300,000 of EPA community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct environmental site assessments, support community engagement and reuse planning activities, focusing on the Pennsy Trail Corridor, which is located in and around the city’s former downtown and rail corridor. Priority sites are located in low-income residential or mixed-use areas and include a junkyard, grain elevator, power substation, former gas station, former rail depot, and a former towing yard.
"We are excited and thankful for the EPA brownfield grant award. Greenfield prioritizes the health of our citizens, our land and our waterways. With the EPA's assistance we can continue revitalizing our historic downtown and improving our economic vitality,” said City of Greenfield Mayor Chuck Fewell.
In Henry County, $400,000 of EPA community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct environmental site assessments, support community engagement and reuse planning activities, focusing on areas within Middletown, New Castle, and Spiceland. Priority sites include two former manufacturing sites in East New Castle; three former auto repair/light industrial sites in Spiceland; and a former dry cleaner and former auto repair shop in Middletown. Coalition partners are the City of New Castle and the Town of Spiceland.
"Henry County is pleased to partner with the City of New Castle, Town of Spiceland and the Economic Development Corporation to continue offering environmental assessment grants to eligible commercial properties all across our county. This is a great tool for returning properties to the tax roll and welcoming new investment and jobs,” said Kim Cronk, President, Board of Commissioners of Henry County.
In Logansport, $600,000 of EPA community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct environmental site assessments, support community engagement and reuse planning activities, focusing on the Logansport Eerie Avenue Corridor, Logansport Water Street Corridor, and the Grissom Aeroplex. Priority sites include the Transco and Exide Battery sites in Logansport; the Nickel Plate North site in downtown Rochester; the Akron Foundry site in Akron, and the Grissom Aeroplex Heat Plant in Bunker Hill. Coalition partners are Fulton County and the North Central Indiana Regional Planning Council.
“A partnership with the U.S. EPA through their Brownfields Assessment Grant program will play an important role in the redevelopment, reuse, and reinvestment in brownfields in our communities,” Logansport, Indiana Mayor Chris Martin stated. “The use of EPA Grant funds will provide valuable information to hesitant investors regarding the properties’ environmental conditions and help them understand the investment potential of these properties, thereby spurring reinvestment. We have had success redeveloping brownfields using funding from this program in the past, and we are confident we can do so again. With the economic uncertainty we currently face in our community, this funding could not have come at a more critical time, and we look forward to the positive impact it will have,” said Logansport Mayor Chris Martin.
The River Hills Economic Development District and Regional Planning Commission will use $300,000 of EPA community-wide grant funds to clean up former industrial sites in Corydon, Charlestown and New Albany. The funds will be used to conduct environmental site assessments and support community engagement and reuse planning activities, focusing on three areas: the Charlestown River Ridge Corridor, which is located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone; the Corydon Little Indian Creek Corridor, and New Albany Tract 702. Priority sites include a former auto sales and repair property in Corydon; a group of abandoned buildings formerly used as munitions storage, which lie adjacent to the Charlestown Park; and a tannery in New Albany.
“Brownfield redevelopment continues to be a priority for the River Hills district in Southern Indiana. With the assistance of funding from the EPA, River Hills has been able to aid our communities with assessments and clean up planning for sites across the region leading to millions of dollars in redevelopment and proposed redevelopment activities. River Hills looks forward to strengthening our economy, improving the environment, and enhancing the quality of life of our communities with this award of EPA funding,” said Nick Creevy, Community Development Specialist for The River Hills Economic Development District and Regional Planning Commission
The Southern Indiana Development Commission will use $504,000 of EPA community-wide grant funds to clean up former industrial sites in the communities of Washington, Daviess County, Vincennes, Knox County, and Bedford, Lawrence County. The funds will be used to conduct environmental site assessments, support community engagement and reuse planning activities, focusing on the communities of Washington, Vincennes, and Bedford, all of which include Qualified Opportunity Zones. Priority sites include a 10-acre site with a history of gas pump and refrigerant manufacturing in Washington; a 1.9-acre former industrial solvents warehouse in Vincennes; and a 4-acre site containing deteriorating structures and approximately eight 8,000 gallon tanks reported to contain fuel and solvents in Bedford. Coalition partners are the Counties of Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, and Martin.
“The Southern Indiana Development Commission (SIDC) is excited and greatly appreciative for this 2020 EPA (Region 5) Brownfields Assessment Grant award. We look forward to working with our EPA representatives on a number of important assessment projects within our coalition of regional partners. These funds help create positive avenues for visible improvements that support both the economic and physical welfare of our local residents, and we thank the EPA for this important award,” said Rex Knight, Project Coordinator for Southern Indiana Development Commission.
In Terre Haute, $300,000 of EPA community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct environmental site assessments, support community engagement and reuse planning activities, focusing on the Coke and Carbon site, which was formerly used by the Indiana Coke and Gas Company from 1926 until 1988; Study Area 1, which contains former industrial properties within the Wabash River floodplain and is located within a Qualified Opportunity Zone, and the International Paper site, which is located on the south end of Study Area 1.
“I am very pleased that the City of Terre Haute has been awarded a Community Wide Assessment Grant from the EPA. These types of grant are critical for communities like ours to begin the process of assessing environmental issues, conduct related planning activities and developing site-specific cleanup plans for brownfield sites. Without these funds, it would be difficult for us to get started on this important environmental cleanup work in our city,” said City of Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett.
Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfields Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes, while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. For example, brownfields grants are shown to:
· Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.
· Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfields sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.
A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the United States. EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $1.6 billion in brownfield grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. To date, brownfields investments have leveraged more than $31 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding, from both public and private sources, leveraged more than 160,000 jobs.
The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on April 26-30, 2021, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing former commercial and industrial properties. EPA co-sponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.
For more on the brownfields grants: https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/brownfields
For more information about EPA’s role in Opportunity Zones: https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/opportunity-zones
For information on the studies related to the Brownfields Program’s environmental and economic benefits: https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-program-environmental-and-economic-benefits