“We’re thankful to the EPA for their continued support of my administration’s efforts in Springfield and the support of Congressman Richard Neal on our successful grant application,” said Mayor Sarno. “Brownfields funding is so important to communities like Springfield in turning around vacant and abandoned properties and we will put this funding to good use as we continue to revitalize our neighborhoods.”
The nationwide grant program is competitive, and the application submitted by the city’s Office of Planning & Economic Development (OPED) scored high to receive the maximum award in the assessment category. The grant application was assembled by Wilson Darbin, Project Manager and supported by Brian Connors, Deputy Director.
“OPED staff submitted a compelling application and we will work with our neighborhoods to identify priority sites to assess,” said Tim Sheehan, Chief Development Officer. “Addressing derelict properties is essential in our goals as a city both in the needs of public health and in economic development.”
The EPA announced more than $315 million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of Brownfield sites across the country while advancing environmental justice. EPA selected 262 communities to receive 267 grants totaling more than $215 million in competitive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant programs.
Springfield’s accomplished history in the Brownfields program, which includes winning the EPA Phoenix Award for Best Brownfields Project in the country for the 2018 redevelopment of Union Station, also played a role in securing the grant. Springfield established its own Brownfields program in 1995 and became one of the first EPA Brownfields pilot communities in 1998. The city has successfully authored and administered several such grants since that time.
EPA’s Brownfields Program strives to expand the ability of communities to recycle vacant and abandoned properties for new, productive reuses. The investments will provide communities with the funding necessary to assess, clean up and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment.
Studies have shown that residential property values near Brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between 5 and 15 percent. Data also shows that brownfields clean ups can increase overall property values within a one-mile radius.
The funding award will go to contract later this summer, with the utilization of the funding starting in the fall. The city has up to four years to utilize the entire grant award.
About the EPA Brownfields Program: Biden-Harris Administration Announces More than $315 Million Through Investing in America Agenda for Cleanup and Technical Assistance at Polluted Brownfield Sites | US EPA
Full List of Awards: Grants Selected For Funding with BIL with RLF Supplemental rpt (epa.gov)