News Releases from Region 07
St. Louis County Receives $300,000 in Supplemental Funding to Clean Up and Reuse Brownfield Sites
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lenexa, Kan., June 10, 2020) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) of St. Louis County is receiving $300,000 to clean up contaminated brownfield sites. Nationally, communities received approximately $6.9 million in supplemental funding for 25 current, successful Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (Revolving Loan) grantees.
The supplemental funds announced today are going to communities that have demonstrated success in using their Revolving Loan program to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. The funds will be used to continue their progress in reusing vacant and abandoned properties and turning them into community assets, such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, and commerce opportunities.
“Every community receiving additional funding today from EPA has Opportunity Zones within their jurisdiction, meaning these cleanup activities at local brownfield sites will not only address legacy contamination, but also spur new economic opportunities where they are needed most,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This supplemental funding supports the Trump administration’s commitment to reinvest in communities and provide opportunities by addressing properties with environmental challenges to improve human health and the environment.”
“When it comes to EPA’s Brownfields Program, our success relies on the power of partnerships between EPA, state, tribal and local leaders all working together to pave the way for community revitalization,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “St. Louis County LCRA is a great example when it comes to leveraging partnerships to advance the redevelopment and reuse needs of the community. For nearly 15 years, the county has continued to successfully leverage EPA Brownfields support for the betterment of their community by transforming once vacant or distressed properties into opportunities.”
“We are pleased to receive $300,000 of supplemental Revolving Loan Fund funds for the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority of St. Louis County. These funds will be utilized to complete priority cleanups for redevelopment in the Promise Zone, located in North St. Louis County, and other distressed communities in St. Louis County,” said Rodney Crim, CEO and president of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.
Since the program began 15 years ago, the LCRA’s Revolving Loan Fund Program has committed more than $1.4 million to brownfield cleanup projects, leveraging more than $24 million in investment. These projects in St. Louis County have led to the revitalization of the Heege Neighborhood Retail Center, LeMay riverfront, LeMay Housing Project, and several current projects in the cities of Dellwood and Ferguson.
All of the communities receiving supplemental funds have census tracks designated as federal Opportunity Zones within their jurisdictions. An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Most often, those who reside near these sites are low-income, minority and disadvantaged Americans. When coupled with leveraged funds, such as other Brownfield grants or Opportunity Funds, Revolving Loans can be a powerful tool for revitalizing a community of need.
When Revolving Loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned to the fund and lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community. To date, EPA’s Revolving Loan grantees across the country have completed 759 cleanups and attracted approximately 45,000 jobs and $8.4 billion in public and private funding.
A brownfield is a property where 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 U.S.
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. Under President Trump, over 70% of the communities selected for Brownfields grants in 2019 were located in Opportunity Zones. Brownfields grants have been shown to:
- Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfield 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 brownfield sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.
As of February 2020, under the EPA Brownfields Program, 31,516 properties have been assessed and 92,047 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use Brownfields grants to attract 160,306 jobs and more than $31 billion of public and private funding.
The 2021 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 formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties. EPA cosponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.
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