The Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program is pleased to announce the first grant recipients of the Cleaner Commonwealth Fund. In March, the program solicited requests for funds to redevelop brownfield properties. This fund, which is administered through the Division of Compliance Assistance, provides financial assistance for projects that clean up brownfield sites, including old factories, former gas stations and other properties that are abandoned or underutilized due to environmental contamination. The fund is a grant-and-loan fund established with an $850,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund grant.
Two projects are being funded in this round, both for asbestos removal:
- Lincoln Hall in Annville will receive $49,000. This historic building will be redeveloped as a cultural center, reception hall and classrooms for after-school and summer youth programs. Although Lincoln Hall has already received a federal EPA Brownfield Cleanup Grant of $200,000, the funding is insufficient to cover all the costs for a project of its size and scope. The additional CCF funding will be pivotal in conducting cleanup activities beyond those preformed under the federal grant.
- Columbia Theatre in Paducah will receive $49,000. The restored theater will be used as a cinematic art house and provide a venue for live music and educational programs.
Brownfield redevelopment not only protects the environment, but it can also be an important economic driver for a community. Since the inception of the federal brownfield program in 2002, brownfield redevelopment activities have leveraged 90,363 jobs across the nation. According to EPA studies, property values rise between 5.1–12.8 percent when a nearby brownfield property is redeveloped. Kentucky has realized similar successes with projects like Owensboro’s’ riverfront redevelopment, Crab Orchard’s Lincoln County Scrap Yard and Cumberland Valley Area Development District’s Assessment Program.
Another round of grants for local governments and nonprofit entities will be available this fall. Applicants that have projects, especially petroleum-related sites, are encouraged to contact the program to discuss eligibility and technical requirements of the grant.