EPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

05/17/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/17/2021 12:26

EPA Selects Kalamazoo County, Southcentral Michigan Planning Council to Receive Brownfields Grants totaling $900,000

News Releases from Region 05

Two of four brownfield grants announced today totaling $1.8 million statewide to help Michigan communities Build Back Better

05/17/2021

CHICAGO (May 17, 2021) - Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that Kalamazoo County will receive $300,000 and the Southcentral Michigan Planning Council will receive $600,000 in Brownfields funding through its Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup (MAC) Grants. These grants will help both recipients investigate the environmental condition of abandoned industrial and commercial properties that have been targeted for redevelopment.

'EPA's brownfields program is providing critical funding to help empower Michigan communities to address the environmental, public health and social issues associated with contaminated land,' said Acting EPA Regional Administrator Cheryl Newton. 'EPA commends community leaders for using these funds to take vital steps forward to improve the environment and the local economy. These grants underscore EPA's commitment to lifting up and protecting all communities - especially overburdened and underserved communities - throughout Michigan.'

'I'm pleased that these grants will provide important resources towards addressing environmental clean-up in communities across Michigan,' said Sen. Gary Peters. 'By clearing abandoned industrial sites, we can ensure our state is an even greater place to live, work and raise a family.'

'Abandoned industrial properties hurt our local economies and can be dangerous to our environment. I'm glad to see the Environmental Protection Agency investing in our neighborhoods in Michigan. These projects will help us clean up and redevelop these sites, creating jobs and new economic opportunities in our communities,' said Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

'I am grateful the EPA's Brownfields Program has selected the Kalamazoo County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority for a significant grant that will serve as a catalyst for economic development and new opportunities in the Kalamazoo region. Kalamazoo and its neighboring communities continue to grow, and this grant funding will certainly help ensure that growth continues,' said Rep. Fred Upton.

The Kalamazoo County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will use its grant to help identify and investigate brownfield properties in the Northside neighborhood of the City of Kalamazoo. Sites for special attention include a former boiler house that is currently a multi-purpose training facility, a former contractor's warehouse, a former gas station, and a historic general store. The award announced today is the county's third brownfields assessment grant. EPA funds received in 2006 and 2016 were used to investigate 27 properties -19 of which have been cleared for redevelopment. Private investment in redevelopment at these sites is currently over $27 million and more than 500 jobs have been created or retained.

'The Kalamazoo County Brownfield Authority is on a path to make significant improvements at formerly contaminated and blighted properties in Kalamazoo County thanks to this new and past EPA brownfield assessment grant. The economic stability and improved health that the redevelopment of these properties will provide is significant for our community,' said Kenneth Peregon, chairperson of the Kalamazoo County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

The Southcentral Michigan Planning Council will use its grant to fund environmental investigations focused on the U.S. Highway 12 Corridor and the historic downtown of the Village of Homer in Calhoun County. Properties of special importance include a lumber yard located along the banks of the Sauk River and the West Main block in Homer, where several aging multi-story commercial and mixed-use buildings once housed tin shops, cabinet shops and other operations that likely used a variety of chemicals.

'This grant will help to breathe new life into overlooked areas in our region that deeply need redevelopment and revitalization but often miss out on funding opportunities. Our focused work with coalition partners will place the target areas of the US-12 Corridor in Coldwater and the Village of Homer into a position of readiness to become safe and healthy modern economic hubs. By addressing the environmental and land use conditions associated with brownfields, we will help reverse the economic conditions of postindustrial stagnation, community disinvestment, and unemployment in these communities,' said Vince Carahaly, Southcentral Michigan Planning Council chairperson.

EPA also announced two additional grants to fund brownfields work in Michigan communities which brings the total to $1.8 million statewide. Tuscola County will receive $600,000 and Marquette County will receive $300,000.

'This funding will help continue the momentum we're building in Michigan to create wins for both the environment and economic development,' said Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. 'We're pleased that these communities - from the Thumb of Michigan to West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula - are getting resources they need to thrive.'

Nationally, a total $65.5 million will be awarded to 151 grantees to help underserved and economically disadvantaged communities across the country assess and clean up contaminated and abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Approximately 50% of selected recipients are receiving EPA Brownfields grant funding for the first time and more than 85% are located in or serving small communities.

The list of the fiscal year 2021 applicants selected for funding is available here:

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2021-04/documents/fy21_bf_mac_grant_selections_may_2021.pdf (11 pp, 1.27 MB, About PDF)

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 $1.72 billion in grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return them to productive reuse. Communities in Michigan have received 296 grants totaling more than $116 million. 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.

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.