EPA Announces $2 Million in Brownfield Grants for Communities Across New Jersey

News Releases from Region 02

05/06/2020

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NEW YORK – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the City of Camden, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, Inc., and the City of Jersey City have been selected to receive a total of $2,099,451 to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency’s Brownfields Program. Under President Trump’s Administration, EPA has delivered approximately $287 million in Brownfield grants directly to communities and nonprofits for cleanup and redevelopment, job creation, and economic development through the award of over 948 grants. EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez announced the grant during a virtual event with recipients and Members of Congress.

“The EPA Brownfields program has helped New Jersey’s communities by transforming once-vacant properties into beacons of hope, especially for many economically disadvantaged neighborhoods,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Vacant or contaminated land may not feel or look like a community asset waiting to happen, but with the right knowledge, skills, vision and investment, these properties offer local governments and neighborhoods some of the best opportunities to transform their futures. Through the Brownfields program, we can reverse blight and replace it with regeneration— and with even one property’s reuse, we can spur community-wide revitalization.”

“This federal funding will help transform neglected and contaminated properties into community resources, and will have a profound impact on people living in Camden, Jersey City, and across the state,” said Senator Cory Booker. “Now more than ever, it is critical that we take action to address hazards to public health and ensure the safety and well-being of New Jerseyans.”

“While we are facing the coronavirus crisis, protecting the public health of our community is more important than ever – and this federal funding will provide a safer environment for Camden residents,” said Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-1). “These investments will help us continue to improve our city and reclaim contaminated sites. It’s amazing to witness Camden’s historic transformation, and these resources will bring jobs to the area both during and after the cleanup, in addition to making our community a better and safer place to live.”

“Brownfield remediation promotes investment in our communities, protects our environment, and helps to grow jobs and local tax bases,” said Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11). “This EPA funding will give New Jersey a critical tool to clean up these contaminated sites so we can turn land back over to community use.”

“I was glad to learn that the Environmental Protection Agency is awarding this much-needed grant assistance to Jersey City and to the state's Economic Development Authority (NJEDA),” said Congressman Albio Sires (NJ-8). “The $500,000 grant will help Jersey City clean and restore the Mill Creek brownfield site. The $800,000 grant to the NJEDA allows the agency to distribute financial support for cleanup activities around the state."

Nationwide, this year, the agency is announcing the selection of 155 grants for communities and tribes totaling over $65.6 million in EPA brownfields funding the agency’s Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant Programs. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities, including neighborhoods located in Opportunity Zones, in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Of the 151 total communities selected, 118 of these communities can potentially assess or clean up brownfield sites in census tracts designated in these zones. In addition, nearly 30% of the communities selected today will receive brownfields funding for the first time.

New Jersey Economic Development Authority – $800,000 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grant

EPA has selected the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) for an $800,000 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grant to provide low-interest loans and sub-grants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfields sites in 12 communities that need revitalization. The funds will go toward reusing vacant and abandoned properties and turning them into community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, and commerce opportunities. 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.

“The Revolving Loan Fund Grant will provide the NJEDA with a sustainable source of capital for advancing the clean-up and redevelopment of brownfield properties in communities throughout New Jersey,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The resulting investment and ancillary improvements will help to transform our communities by providing places for new community assets, driving business growth and job creation, restoring the local tax base, protecting the state’s environment, and supporting climate resiliency.”

Camden, NJ – $500,000 Brownfields Cleanup Grant

EPA has selected the City of Camden for a $500,000 Brownfields Cleanup Grant to clean up heavy metal and semi-volatile and volatile organic compound contamination at the former Borden Chemical Site at 1625 Federal Street. From 1906 to 1983, the 2.7-acre site was first used as a steam heating manufacturing facility, then as a printing ink manufacturing and storage facility, and finally as a wire display rack manufacturing facility. Between 1980 and 1983, over 700 drums were removed from the site as part of its decommissioning and the site currently sits vacant.

“This is incredible news for Camden residents and a tremendous boost towards remediating the contaminated sites that remain in our community,” said Camden Mayor Frank Moran. “Camden still carries the environmental burden and cleaning up costs associated with our industrialized past. Remediation of the Borden Chemical Site will serve as a catalyst for redeveloping four other City-owned sites along a corridor prime for light industrial redevelopment. We take the long view: this US EPA grant is not just about cleaning up one site. It is about facilitating redevelopment of these sites and providing living wage job opportunities for our residents. The City of Camden is so glad to be chosen as one of the communities selected in New Jersey to receive a portion of the $2 million in brownfields funding. I commend the EPA leadership, as this important funding will help address some longstanding environmental challenges. I am also grateful to Senator Bob Menendez, Senator Cory Booker and Congressman Donald Norcross for their support of Camden and advocacy for the wellbeing of its residents.”

Jersey City, NJ – $500,000 Brownfields Cleanup Grant

EPA has selected the City of Jersey City for a $500,000 Brownfields Cleanup Grant to clean up Mill Creek at the southern end of Jersey Avenue. In the late 1800s, historic fill was placed on the Mill Creek site to allow for urban and railroad development. The northern part of the site was used for industrial storage and heavy industrial purposes, such as steel construction, scrap metal processing, metal supply warehousing, smelting and refining, and livestock trade. The site is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals. In addition to the cleanup, grant funds will also be used to carry out community outreach activities.

“This is a substantial grant that will greatly benefit the community and the environment by remediating 24-acres of land plagued by contamination for decades,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. “Once remediated, the area will provide increased access to open space for our residents, improved water quality, and enhanced ecological health. Once again, the EPA has enabled us to take the next step forward on this latest project, as we are always looking to improve the quality of life for our overall community."

Cooper's Ferry Partnership Inc., Camden, NJ – $299,451 Brownfields Assessment Grant

EPA has selected Cooper’s Ferry Partnership Inc. in Camden, NJ, for a $299,451 Brownfields Assessment Grant targeting the North Camden neighborhood within the City of Camden, which includes 80 acres of suspected brownfield sites along the waterfront. Grant funds will be used to identify sites for assessment, to assess sites for hazardous substances, to complete cleanup and reuse plans, and to carry out community outreach activities.

“We are excited to work with local leaders and residents to continue the momentum created by an investment in North Camden’s parks, housing, youth services, and workforce training,” said Kris Kolluri, CEO of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. “The North Camden Community-Wide Assessment Project will target areas designated for development in the North Camden neighborhood of the City of Camden, New Jersey where about 80 acres of land, equivalent to 29% of the neighborhood’s total parcel area, are recognized as identified or suspected brownfields.” 

Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfields Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes, while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. For example, brownfields grants are shown to:

  • Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.
  • Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfields sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.

Background

A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the United States.  EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and 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, brownfields investments have leveraged more than $31 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding, from both public and private sources, leveraged more than 160,000 jobs.

The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on April 26-30, 2021, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing former commercial and industrial properties. EPA co-sponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.

For more on the brownfields grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding

For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields

For more information about EPA’s role in Opportunity Zones: https://www.epa.gov/opportunity-zones

For information on the studies related to the Brownfields Program’s environmental and economic benefits: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-program-environmental-and-economic-benefits

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