The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a $200,000 Brownfields area-wide planning grant Tuesday to the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Harrisburg to help plan for health, environmental and economic improvements for the city’s Allison Hill section.
“This area-wide planning approach sparks the kind of economic development that meets the needs of neighborhoods, and leads to vibrant communities,” said acting EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cecil Rodrigues, speaking at a press conference at the Hamilton Health Center. “We know that revitalization works best when local communities are directly involved in the process.”
In 2010, the Department of Environmental Protection used EPA Brownfields funds to clean up a large vacant parcel of land that was once Allison Hill Automotive where the Hamilton Hill Health Center now stands. This property is adjacent to the target area for the new Area Wide Planning grant.
The cleanup consisted of removing buildings contaminated with asbestos, and underground storage tanks, as well as treating contaminated soil and groundwater.
With this new EPA funding, the Redevelopment Authority will collaborate with partners to plan the cleanup, as well as the revitalization, and infrastructure upgrades that are necessary for neighborhood revitalization.
The partners include: DEP; the City of Harrisburg; the Harrisburg School District; Hamilton Health Center; and, numerous community based organizations such as Tri-County Community Action, and YWCA of Greater Harrisburg.
"Along with the City of Harrisburg, we are extremely grateful for our long list of community partners,” said Bryan Davis, Executive Director for the Redevelopment Authority. “This EPA funding is crucial to our goals of protecting the health of South Allison Hill’s families, especially the children – while simultaneously removing barriers to economic development and neighborhood improvements that enhance our quality of life.”
Since the federal brownfields law was passed in 2001, EPA’s brownfields program has assessed and cleaned up thousands of contaminated brownfields sites, returning more than 66,000 acres of land to productive reuse nationwide.
The program has created or retained more than 122,000 jobs and leveraged more than $23.7 billion in redevelopment investment in brownfields communities.
In Pennsylvania, EPA has awarded $66 million in brownfields funding that has been used for assessing nearly 1,000 sites and cleaning up 60.For more information on this program, visit EPA’s Brownfields webpage.