Denver, Colo. – June 2, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — As part of a tour highlighting several completed, ongoing and planned redevelopment projects in Missoula, Mont., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regional administrator Shaun McGrath today presented Mayor John Engen with $400K in EPA Brownfields grant funds. The EPA grants will be used to expand local efforts to assess, clean up and redevelop properties throughout Missoula, including Urban Renewal Districts and properties along the Clark Fork River waterfront.
Today’s announcement is among 243 EPA grant investments totaling $54.3 million to 147 communities across the U.S. These grants will provide communities with funding necessary to assess, clean and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment.
“EPA Brownfields grants continue to help Missoula transform contaminated and underused properties into economic assets,” said EPA regional administrator, Shaun McGrath. “There are few communities in the U.S. that can match the vision, commitment and skill that Missoula has demonstrated in cleaning up and reviving blighted properties. EPA is proud to be investing in new projects that will continue to address contamination and create new opportunities here in the city.”
The City of Missoula was originally awarded an EPA Brownfields grant in 1998 to assess environmental conditions at sites in the downtown area. Since that time, the City has used more than $3.5 million in EPA Brownfields grants to leverage tremendous redevelopment successes, including the cleanup of the 50-acre Missoula Sawmill site, a 14-acre riverfront park and trail system, and the renewal of several downtown buildings and properties. The City has been particularly effective in working with community and local business interests to use these funds to advance shared redevelopment goals and the vision outlined in the Greater Downtown Master Plan.
The City will use today’s EPA Brownfields Assessment funds to identify contamination concerns and cleanup needs at several properties in Urban Renewal Districts along the Clark Fork River. These areas include properties along the Bitterroot Branch rail line, a former unlicensed landfill, former fueling and vehicle repair sites, and many outdated and largely vacant buildings. The redevelopment of these areas will include opportunities for new parks and trails, housing, and businesses.
Mayor Engen points to Missoula’s riverfront as an area of accomplishment and promise.
“We have enjoyed a great partnership with EPA,” he said, “and it is evident in the heart of Missoula
on the riverfront at the old mill site, where what was a post-industrial wasteland is now one of Missoula’s premier parks, and the neighboring land is ripe for a new mixed-use neighborhood. That doesn’t happen without this kind of partnership.”
There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States. EPA’s Brownfields Program empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse these sites. Since the inception of the EPA’s Brownfields Program in 1995, cumulative brownfield program investments have leveraged more than $22 billion from a variety of public and private sources for cleanup and redevelopment activities. This equates to an average of $17.79 leveraged per EPA brownfield dollar expended. These investments have resulted in approximately 105,942 jobs nationwide.
More information on Brownfields grants by state: http://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/
U.S. EPA: Danny Heffernan, 303-312-7074; heffernan.daniel (at) epa (dot) gov
U.S. EPA: Ted Lanzano, 303-312-6596; lanzano.ted (at) epa (dot) gov
City of Missoula: Ginny Merriam, 406- 552-6007; gmerriam (at) ci.missoula.mt (dot) us