NEW YORK (June 5, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected 149 communities across the country including the City of Syracuse and the Villages of Solvay and Marcellus, New York to receive funding for brownfield site revitalization to help local governments redevelop vacant and unused properties, transforming communities and local economies.
“These grants fulfill several of President Trump’s top priorities simultaneously: helping communities in need transform contaminated sites into community assets that not only create jobs and jumpstart economic development but also improve public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are targeting these funds to areas that need them the most. Approximately 40 percent of the selected recipients are receiving Brownfields grants for the first time, which means we are reaching areas that may previously been neglected, and 108 of the selected communities have identified sites or targeted areas for redevelopment that fall within Opportunity Zones.”
“With EPA’s Brownfields grants, communities can take contaminated, blighted properties and turn them into usable, environmentally and economically profitable land,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “We are thrilled to work with our state and local partners to fund under-served and disadvantaged communities cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties.”
“The Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation, better known in our community as the Syracuse Land Bank, is essential to making stronger neighborhoods in the city. With additional help from the EPA, the Land Bank will have more tools to address legacy environmental conditions that can limit our ability to revive properties. We greatly appreciate the EPA’s support,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.
"This funding will enable the Greater Syracuse Land Bank to acquire and test dozens of potentially contaminated, abandoned properties to better understand the work that is needed to clean and redevelop them, removing what can often be the biggest barrier to reinvestment - the unknown,” said Katelyn E. Wright, Executive Director, Greater Syracuse Land Bank.
EPA selected the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation to receive a $600,000 Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant to assess sites for hazardous substances and petroleum contamination. Grant funds will also be used to update the existing inventory of brownfield sites and conduct community outreach activities. The target areas include the urban core of the City of Syracuse and the Villages of Solvay and Marcellus. Coalition partners are the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency and the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency.
Of the 149 communities selected nationwide, 108 have identified sites or targeted areas in census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. The grant to the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation will address Opportunity Zones in targeted areas.
Overview of the Funds Being Announced Today
The communities selected for brownfields funding this year include:
Geographically diverse set of communities:149 communities across the country in all 10 EPA regions.Diverse types of communities:19% of selected proposals are in urban areas,81% of selected proposals are in non-urban areas (population of 100,000 or less),40% of the grants will go to the smallest of communities with populations of 10,000 or less.And, new communities that have never received brownfields funding before:40% of selected communities are receiving brownfields funding for the first time.
Brownfields grants have been shown to increase local tax revenue and residential property values. 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. Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfields sites increased between 5 and 15% following cleanup.
As of May 2019, under the EPA Brownfields Program 30,153 properties have been assessed, and 86,131 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use Brownfields grants to leverage 150,120 jobs and more than $28 billion of public and private funding.
For a list of EPA’s brownfields program applicants selected for funding:
For Brownfields success stories, please see “Brownfields: Properties with New Purpose, Improving Local Economies in Communities with Brownfield Sites”