On Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $11.6 million in supplemental funding to help transform communities by cleaning up contaminated brownfields properties with $500,000 going to the Niagara County Center for Economic Development.
The funding will be provided to 27 communities that have demonstrated success in using their previously awarded brownfields revolving loan funding (RLF) grants to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites, and the Niagara County Center for Economic Development is the only recipient of this type of funding in New York this year.
A press release stated, “This investment is an important part of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to address environmental justice issues in underserved communities.”
EPA acting Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan said, “Many of the brownfields cleanups supported by EPA’s revolving loan funding are in economically disadvantaged communities where environmental cleanup and jobs are needed most, including in Niagara County. The Niagara County Center for Economic Development has for years been dedicated to making the county’s brownfields program highly successful and a standard for others to emulate across New York.”
Niagara County Legislature Chairwoman Rebecca Wydysh said, "Niagara County continues to work towards transforming our brownfields from community liabilities into assets. Through Niagara County's brownfields cleanup revolving loan fund program, 14 properties have been remediated, environmental contamination addressed, and new economic opportunities created. The newest grant award will be used to provide low-interest loans to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites in the county. We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with the USEPA and thank them for recognizing Niagara County's successful brownfield program."
The supplemental funding awarded to Niagara County will be used for the cleanup of the former Military Road School and will result in redevelopment into the first senior assisted living complex in the Town of Niagara allowing elderly residents to stay in the community. The project will create 100 construction jobs and 20 new jobs. Green building design is proposed with pedestrian connections to a neighboring commercial plaza, town park, and community center.
Brownfield RLF grants enable funding for communities to provide loans and sub-grants for cleanup activities at brownfield sites. When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community.
To date, EPA’s RLF grantees across the country have completed 794 cleanups and attracted approximately 48,000 jobs and $16.2 billion in public and private funding. These supplemental funds are designed to help communities keep the cleanup momentum going so that more cleanups can be completed.
Each grantee will receive from $200,000 to $500,000.
Since 1995, EPA’s brownfields program 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, these brownfields investments have leveraged more than $34.5 billion in cleanup and redevelopment in communities across the country. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding has leveraged, from both public and private sources, more than 176,800 jobs. For more information on EPA’s revolving loan fund program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-revolving-loan-fund-rlf-grants. For more information on EPA’s Brownfields program: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields.