Have a blighted property? Got properties with a questionable environmental history? Chances are you have brownfields. Brownfields are properties that are abandoned or underutilized due to contamination or the perception of contamination. They include a variety of sites, including abandoned schools and hospitals, former factories, mine-scarred lands, gas stations and dry cleaning sites. The good news is there are resources out there to assist communities, nonprofits and quasi-governmental agencies assess and remediate their problem properties, allowing communities to get those properties back into productive reuse.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released guidance for the FY 2015 Brownfield Grants. This round of federal grants includes funding for assessment and cleanup activities. Assessment grants allow communities to inventory, characterize, assess, conduct cleanup planning and engage in community involvement for sites in their communities. Cleanup grants are used to perform remediation activities at brownfield sites. Revolving Loan Fund Grants, used to establish grant and loan programs for cleanup activities, will not be offered this year, but should be available again in FY16. The grants are open to local governments and quasi-governmental agencies. Nonprofits can apply for cleanup funding, but not for assessment.
Guidance for both grants and other valuable information, including Frequently Asked Questions and changes in this year’s guidance, are posted on the EPA Brownfield funding page. Grant Writing Resources, including checklists, sample support letters and successful grant applications, can be found on the Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program website at Grant Writing Resources. Grants are due to the EPA on Dec. 19, 2014.
Kentucky has had great success with brownfield redevelopment though EPA grants over the past few years. The Cumberland Valley Area Development District won assessment monies for the eight counties it serves. Two of the assessments performed resulted in cleanup grants. The city of Crab Orchard, which utilized the Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program’s free assessment program, was awarded a cleanup grant for the Lincoln County Scrap Yard, and the property was turned into a community park.
If you are interested in submitting a grant application or want to learn more about how to utilize federal brownfield grants and state resources for properties in your community with an environmental past, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information.