Rockford Receives $700,000 to Redevelop Brownfield Sites

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Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017 7:37 pm

CHICAGO, Ill. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the city of Rockford, Ill., has been selected to receive a $700,000 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grant to clean up contaminated brownfield properties. Rockford is one of 11 applicants across the nation with earlier Brownfield RLF grants selected to receive supplemental funding totaling approximately $5.35 million.

The Brownfields RLF program supports EPA’s commitment to help environmentally overburdened communities address local priorities. The supplemental funds announced will help communities reuse vacant and abandoned properties and turn them into community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, transportation options, infrastructure and commerce opportunities.

"These supplemental funds help provide communities with resources to help clean up contamination, and turn blighted land into opportunities that can generate jobs and spur economic growth," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Rockford will use RLF funds to turn the Colman Village Site in Rockford, Ill., into a $65 million multi-use complex that will host the Rock Valley Technical Career Education and Training Center, a major hospital clinic, the Illinois Center for Urban Agriculture and office spaces. It is expected to generate approximately 210 to 305 jobs.

"I’m thrilled by the news that Rockford will receive the Brownsfield RLF grant for FY17. This is great for the City of Rockford and incredibly important to the health of our environment. Restoring the Colman Village space expands economic opportunity and provides a huge benefit to Rockford property development, especially as it continues to be an industrial leader in the United States. I look forward to seeing the progress this grant brings to the Stateline," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

"Utilization of the Supplemental Revolving Loan Cleanup Grant is critical to the city’s efforts to repurpose vacant and deteriorated buildings in downtown Rockford including the major redevelopment sites such as the Colman Village, where these funds will be used to help repurpose four existing historic industrial buildings to advance the Rock Valley College Technical Career Education and Training Center. These funds help fill the financial gap in preparing the property for redevelopment," said Mayor Thomas P. McNamara.

RLF grants are often the last key piece of funding needed to make the cleanup and reuse of a brownfield property happen. They fund loans and sub-grants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. These supplemental funds are provided to communities with current RLF grants who have already achieved success in their brownfields work, and keep the momentum going.

Former successful RLF communities have leveraged more than $6.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment investments and completed more than 657 cleanups. There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States, and EPA brownfield grants are helping to make a visible difference in communities across the country. As of May 2017, more than 124,759 jobs and $24.3 billion of public and private funding has been leveraged.

On average, for every one EPA Brownfields dollar provided, $16.11 was leveraged. As for employment, on average, 8.5 jobs were leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.

A recent national study has shown that cleaning up brownfields led to residential property value increases of 5 to 15 percent within a 1.24-mile radius of the site. Another study analyzing data near 48 brownfields found that an estimated $29 to $97 million in additional tax revenue is 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 those brownfields.

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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