Danville, Ravenna, Lake Cumberland, Owsley get federal brownfield grants

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of four projects in Kentucky for Brownfields grants totaling $1,405,844.

This funding will support underserved and economically disadvantaged communities across the country in assessing and cleaning up contaminated and abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

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 will be receiving EPA Brownfields Grant funding for the first time and more than 85 percent are located in or serving 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.”

“EPA’s Brownfields funding has a proven track record of transforming communities and turning abandoned and contaminated sites into true public assets,” said EPA Acting Region 4 Administrator John Blevins. “Brownfields projects spur economic development and attract jobs, grow innovative and lasting partnerships, and can revitalize underserved communities.”

Nationally, EPA selected 151 communities to receive 154 grant awards totaling $66.5 million in Brownfields funding through its Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grants.

Approximately 50 percent of selected recipients will be receiving EPA Brownfields Grant funding for the first time and more than 85 percent are located in or serving small communities.

In the southeast, 37 grants totaling over $14 million will go to organizations or communities across the eight southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The grant recipients in Kentucky include:

Danville – $300,000 Assessment Grant will be used to develop a brownfields site inventory and conduct 11 Phase I and between six and 10 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop between five and 10 cleanup plans and support community outreach activities. Assessment activities will focus on the city’s urban core. Priority sites include a former post office building, two former service stations, a vacant school, and a vacant former commercial facility.

Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation – $500,000 Cleanup Grant will be used to clean up the CSX Ravenna Railyard located at 499 Kirkland Avenue in the City of Irvine. The cleanup site operated as a railyard and coal sorting facility for over 100 years. It is contaminated with metals, inorganic contaminants, and volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds co-mingled with petroleum hydrocarbons. Grant funds also will be used to support community outreach activities.

Lake Cumberland Area Development District – $300,000 Assessment Grant will be used to develop a site inventory, conduct eight Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments, and prepare four cleanup plans and one area-wide plan. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community outreach activities. Assessment activities will focus on Main Street’s Downtown Square and the Veterans Memorial Park District in the City of Burkesville. Priority sites include a former textile factory, a former skating rink warehouse, and a former Pepsi bottling and distribution facility. Coalition partners are Cumberland County and the City of Burkesville.

Owsley County Alliance for Recreation and Entertainment, Inc. – $305,844 Cleanup Grant will be used to clean up the Booneville/Seale Theater located at 165 North Mulberry Street in the City of Booneville. The cleanup site was constructed in 1947 and operated as a movie theater until 1985. The site has been vacant and primarily used as storage by the former owners since 1985. It is contaminated with metals and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to support community outreach activities.

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.
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