Wednesday, July 29, 2015

EPA Announces Brownfields Grants To Philadelphia Authorities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday announced three brownfields grants for a total of $600,000 -  $400,000 to the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development and $200,000 to the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.
The grants will support efforts underway in assessing brownfields sites that are potentially contaminated with petroleum and hazardous substances so they can be cleaned up and redeveloped into beneficial spaces.
Brownfields are properties where real or suspected environmental contamination has prevented productive reuse.
“I want to congratulate Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority on their success in redeveloping brownfields sites,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “These funds will not only be used to assess contamination, but will also facilitate the sites being returned to a more productive use that will have lasting benefits to the surrounding communities.”
The funds will aid in assessing abandoned industrial and commercial properties, frequently in underserved and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, so they are more livable, equitable and vibrant.
They will be used in developing neighborhood urban gardens and agriculture at the Bartram South site, next to Bartram Gardens.
“As the factories of Philadelphia came and went, vacant land and contaminated soil was often left behind.  As Philadelphia looks to the future, green space, urban agriculture and stormwater infrastructure will be key to community revitalization,” said Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority Director Brian Abernathy. “We appreciate the EPA’s help and support as we work to identify, assess and redevelop some of our vacant parcels into community assets.”   
EPA has been a long-time partner in Philadelphia’s redevelopment efforts.  Including today’s announcement, EPA has provided 17 grants totaling $5.6 million.  
With these funds, the city has assessed more than 320 properties. In 1997, a $650,000 brownfields revolving loan led to the cleanup of the Frankford Arsenal.  EPA is also supporting two area wide planning efforts underway that are engaging residents and planning for brownfields revitalization in Bridesburg and in Kensington.  
These three grants were selected through a national competitive process, nationally 147 communities were chosen to receive 243 grants totaling $54.3 million in 2015 for assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites.
For more information, visit EPA’s Brownfields webpage.

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