EPA announces the selection of three Indiana communities to receive a total of $1.4 million in Brownfields assessment and cleanup funding

UNDATED – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that the cities of Bloomington and Union City, and the Town of Clarksville in Indiana have been selected to receive grant awards totaling $1.4 million in Brownfields funding through its Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grants. The funding will support the three communities in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe

“EPA’s Brownfield’s Program is bringing critical funding to help empower Bloomington, Union City, and Clarksville to address the environmental, public health, and social issues associated with contaminated land,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “These cities are taking proactive steps to improve the environment and economic opportunity in their communities and the agency’s grants are helping the Biden Administration deliver on its commitment to lifting up and protecting all communities—especially environmental justice and underserved communities—across America.”

Rep. Trey Hollingsworth

“It’s exciting to see these federal Brownfields funds coming to IN-09 and greater Indiana,” said Rep. Trey Hollingsworth. “These grants are taxpayer investments, enabling Bloomington and Clarksville to assess, clean up, and reuse contaminated properties, promoting the safety and growth of our communities.”

The City of Bloomington will receive a $300,000 assessment grant to investigate the environmental condition of properties in the city’s College Avenue/Walnut Street Corridor, which serves as one of the primary residential and employment centers for Bloomington.

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton

“The City of Bloomington is excited to receive a new EPA Brownfields Grant to support the revitalization of our downtown,” said Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton. “In the past, these funds have been essential in ensuring our ability to assess and safely reuse land to increase housing, jobs, and quality of life for all, and enhance our role as a regional economic hub. Most notably, an EPA Brownfields Grant supported the transformation of a disused railroad yard at our city’s center into Switchyard Park, a magnificent 57-acre park that significantly supports our community’s goals for equity, sustainability, and economic development. Given our city’s industrial history, we have identified over 25 vacant or underutilized commercial and/or industrial brownfields properties located in low-income residential and/or mixed-use areas as target properties for this grant.”

Union City is receiving its first EPA brownfields grant of $300,000 to conduct environmental site assessments, prepare cleanup plans and support community outreach activities. This is the city’s first grant and will focus on properties in the Pearl and Oak Street Corridor including a former bus body manufacturing facility and former auto plant.

Union City Mayor Chad Spence

“We are very pleased and thankful for the grant funding from the EPA, as it will help address areas in our downtown corridor that will ultimately facilitate new construction and therefore economic development and growth,” said Union City Mayor Chad Spence.

The town of Clarksville will receive a $800,000 grant to assess the environmental condition of properties throughout the city and remediate any contamination discovered at two of the sites. Sites likely to be remediated are Graveyard Auto, a former automobile salvage yard, and Cab-Ex, a former unregulated waste disposal facility.

Clarksville Town Council President Ryan Ramsey

“The Town of Clarksville, Indiana is ecstatic to receive this Multipurpose grant from the EPA, we intend to use the funds to help clean-up our riverfront on the mighty Ohio River for the enjoyment of all Clarksville, Southern Indiana, and Louisville, KY residents,” said Clarksville Town Council President Ryan Ramsey. “The EPA’s buy-in is just another indicator that Clarksville is moving in the right direction. I’d like to extend my sincerest gratitude to the EPA’s leadership and frontline team for believing in Clarksville and investing in our town.”

IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott

“We are excited to receive Brownfield funding from EPA to help revitalize local economies while protecting human health and the environment,” said IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott. “This funding will be used to bring sites in these three cities back to productive use and improve their communities.”

In the past, the state of Indiana has received 146 grants to many communities, totaling more than $62 million, including today’s grants. The city of Bloomington has received three grants for $800,000 and the town of Clarksville has received two grants totaling $1.24 million.

Nationally, a total of $65.5 million will be awarded to 151 grantees to support underserved and economically disadvantaged communities across the country to assess and clean up contaminated and abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Approximately 50 percent 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. 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. 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 percent to 15.2 percent 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.