EPA Announces Western Arkansas Planning & Development District to Receive $300,000 in Brownfields Assessment Funding
The grant awards help underserved communities across the country Build Back Better and address Environmental Justice concerns
Media contacts: Jennah Durant at [email protected] or 214 665-2200
DALLAS – (June 1, 2021) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Western Arkansas Planning & Development District (WAPDD) is among the 151 recipients of 154 grant awards totaling $66.5 million in Brownfields funding through its Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grants. WAPDD plans to use their $300,000 community-wide assessment grant to target properties in two Opportunity Zones in the western part of Fort Smith—the Kress Building in the historic downtown district, to be redeveloped for residential use, and 85 acres of vacant land along the Arkansas River, to be redeveloped for recreation, housing, and commerical space.
This funding will support underserved and economically disadvantaged communities across the country in assessing and cleaning up contaminated and abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Approximately 50 percent of selected recipients are receiving EPA Brownfields grant funding for the first time and more than 85 percent serve small communities.
“Through our Brownfields Program, EPA is delivering on the Biden Administration’s commitment to lifting up and protecting overburdened communities across America, especially communities that have experienced long periods of disinvestment and decay,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “These assessment and cleanup grants will not only support economic growth and job creation, but they will also empower communities to address the environmental, public health, and social issues associated with contaminated land.”
“The WAPDD has an impressive record of using EPA brownfields funding thoughtfully and efficiently to leverage the benefits above and beyond the amount of the grant,” said Acting Regional Administrator David Gray. “I know they will continue that success with this latest award to help their partner communities reduce contamination and reuse land in a beneficial way.”
“The EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant will greatly benefit our region by bringing stakeholders together to envision ways to re-use existing infrastructure, to create innovative ideas for future projects in areas that have a long history of industrial development, to leverage funding with other partners (past assessments allowed us to leverage millions of dollars in our region), and to assist our communities in becoming healthier and more environmentally safe,” said WAPDD Executive Director Sasha Grist. “We are extremely excited to be awarded this funding, and we feel very fortunate to be able to assess current unusable or contaminated properties and then plan for ways to make these same locations more beneficial to our communities. We have proudly partnered with many local agencies in previous funding opportunities with the EPA and look forward to all our future projects and partnerships.”
Today’s grant announcement includes:
- $42.2 million for 107 Assessment Grants, which will provide funding for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments, and community outreach.
- $15.5 million for 36 Cleanup Grants, which will provide funding to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites owned by the recipient.
The list of the fiscal year 2021 applicants selected for funding is available here: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2021-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants
EPA anticipates that it will award the grants once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied by the selected recipients.
Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s Brownfields Program has provided nearly $1.76 billion in grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return them to productive reuse. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. For example:
- To date, communities participating in the Brownfields Program have been able to attract more than $34.4 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding after receiving Brownfields funds. This has led to over 175,500 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment.
- Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged on average $20.13 for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
- In addition, an academic peer-reviewed study has found that residential properties near brownfield sites increased in value by 5% to 15.2% as a result of cleanup activities.
- Finally, analyzing data near 48 brownfields, EPA found an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup—2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfield sites.
For more on the Brownfields Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-epa-brownfield-grant-funding
For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields
Connect with EPA Region 6:
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eparegion6
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/EPAregion6
Activities in EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central
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