(New York, N.Y. – April 25, 2018)(CNBNewsnet)-- Camden City, New Jersey was among 144 communities selected for Brownfields Environmental Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup grants. The two grants totaling $400,000 will provide the community with funding to assess, clean up, and redevelop underutilized properties while protecting public health and the environment. A total of $54.3 million will be provided to brownfields sites nationwide.
“EPA’s Brownfields Program expands the ability of communities to recycle vacant and abandoned properties for new, productive reuses, using existing infrastructure," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These grants leverage other public and private investments, and improve local economies through property cleanup and redevelopment.”
“Brownfield grants are helping communities throughout our region unlock the unmet economic potential of contaminated and unused lands,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “EPA is pleased to be an active partner in promoting the cleanup and reuse of Brownfields properties. Once cleanup is complete, the site can be put to reuse with the potential to bring in valuable private sector development, jobs, and additional tax revenue.”
The EPA has selected the City of Camden to receive a total of $400,000 in Brownfield grants:
726 Kaighn Avenue Site – $200,000
The $200,000 grant will be used to clean up a parcel of property at 726 Kaighn Avenue, a former electroplating facility that ceased operations in 2004. For many years, the property and building have been abandoned. Trespassers have entered, and at times occupied, the building, which contained harmful contaminants. In 2011, EPA removed over 80 containers of acids, metals, cyanide, ammonia and sodium hydroxide. Plans for future redevelopment at this site include an industrial park to bring manufacturing jobs back to the city.
“The US EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant for 726 Kaighn Avenue, along with re-allocated grant funds from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, will enable the City of Camden to move forward with the redevelopment of a prime commercial site directly adjacent to Interstate 676 in the Bergen Square Neighborhood,” said Camden Mayor Frank Moran. “The property has been vacant and a blight on our community for decades, attracting nothing but trash and drug activity. The City jump-started the effort with the demolition of an abandoned, multi-story industrial building. Many thanks to our partners at US EPA and NJEDA for providing the funding necessary to reclaim a valuable community which will ultimately result in economic opportunity for our City.”
Camden Laboratories Site – $200,000
The $200,000 grant will be used to clean up the Camden Laboratories site at 1667 Davis Street, which has been vacant since 2008. Groundwater at the 3.9-acre site is contaminated with chlorinated solvents. The soil is contaminated with mercury, remnants from the site’s history as a hospital and medical bio-tech facility. The City of Camden plans to redevelop the site into an extension of the adjoining Whitman Park. This type of development would improve the property values of the neighborhood, add much needed recreation space, and allow for the addition of green stormwater infrastructure.
“The cleanup and redevelopment of the former Camden Laboratories Site is a key component of the City of Camden’s Mt. Ephraim Neighborhood Choice Implement Strategy and the Mt. Ephraim Neighborhood Brownfields Area-Wide Plan,” said Camden Mayor Frank Moran. “The presence of the dilapidated structure has long been an eyesore next to the adjacent Whitman Park recreational fields and a nuisance to the surrounding residential neighborhoods. Utilizing funding from the New Jersey Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF), the City and the Camden Redevelopment Agency plan to demolish the structure. Directly thereafter, using the US EPA Brownfields Cleanup funds and leveraging additional HDSRF funds, we will begin to remediate the property. Once completed, our vision calls for the extension of the recreational fields in order to provide greater usage by the community.”
The Brownfields Program targets communities that are economically disadvantaged and provides funding and assistance to transform blighted sites into assets that can generate jobs and spur economic growth. A study analyzing 48 brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments 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 brownfield sites. Furthermore, another study found that property values of homes located near brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between five and 15 percent after cleanup.
In addition, communities can use Brownfields funding to leverage water infrastructure loans and other financial resources. For example, EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund can be used, under certain conditions, to address the water quality aspects of brownfield sites and the assessment and construction of drinking water infrastructure on brownfields, respectively. EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program may also serve as a potential source of long-term, low-cost supplemental financing to fund brownfields project development and implementation activities to address water quality aspects of brownfields.
List of the FY 2018 Applicants Selected for Funding:
For more information on the ARC grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields
For more information on how Brownfields restoration has positively impacted local economies and the quality of life for neighboring communities: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-success-stories