EPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

05/21/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/21/2019 14:10

EPA, HUD and SBA Officials Tour the Creative Village Project in Orlando, Florida with the Executive Director for the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council

05/21/2019

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ORLANDO - (May 21, 2019) Yesterday, in coordination with a visit from the executive director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Small Business Administration, and the City of Orlando toured the Creative Village, a project that utilized EPA brownfields grants to help spur economic growth and redevelopment. Participants discussed the progress of the project and future goals.

The tour of Creative Village is part of a larger tour of Opportunity Zones by administration officials in the Orlando and Tampa areas. Opportunity Zones are a powerful vehicle for bringing economic growth and job creation to the American communities that need them the most. On average, the median family income in an Opportunity Zone is 37 percent below the state median income. To date, 8,760 communities in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and five territories have been designated as Opportunity Zones.

'EPA is pleased to be an active partner in promoting the redevelopment of Brownfields properties,' said EPA Acting Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. 'These funds mean a great deal to communities and help to bring in valuable private sector development, jobs, and additional tax revenue.'

This ambitious project envisions a 'live, work, play' center in downtown Orlando constructed at the site of the former home of the Orlando Magic, the Amway Center, which was demolished in 2012. Creative Village will eventually consist of a mixed-use, transit-oriented development consisting of 1,200,000 square feet of office/creative space; 750,000 square feet of higher education space; 1,500 residential units; 1,500 student housing beds; 150,000 square feet of retail/commercial space and 225 hotel rooms.

Orlando was awarded a $400,000 Community-Wide Assessment Grant in 2012. EPA grant funding was used at several parcels in the Parramore area for assessment. Additionally, a 2013 Cleanup Grant ($200,000) funded cleanup activity at three parcels which represent approximately 26 acres out of the 68 acres under the Creative Village umbrella. The entire Creative Village project is enrolled in Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Brownfields program, which oversees voluntary cleanups while providing financial and regulatory incentives to enrollees.

The Brownfields Program targets communities that are economically disadvantaged and provides funding and assistance to transform blighted sites into assets that can generate jobs and spur economic growth. A study analyzing 48 brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments 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 brownfield sites. Furthermore, another study found that property values of homes located near brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between 5 and 15 percent after cleanup.

In addition, communities can use Brownfields funding to leverage water infrastructure loans and other financial resources. For example, EPA's Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund can be used, under certain conditions, to address the water quality aspects of brownfield sites and the assessment and construction of drinking water infrastructure on brownfields, respectively. EPA's Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program may also serve as a potential source of long-term, low-cost supplemental financing to fund brownfields project development and implementation activities to address water quality aspects of brownfields.

For more information about Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment Grants: www.epa.gov/brownfields.

How brownfields restoration has positively impacted local economies and the quality of life for neighboring communities: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-success-stories.