The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected Clinton as one of the 144 communities in the United States and one of the only seven in South Carolina for brownfields environmental assessment, revolving loan fund, and cleanup grants. The 221 grants, totaling $54.3 million, will provide communities with funding to assess, clean up and redevelop underutilized properties while protecting public health and the environment.
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 5 and 15 percent after cleanup.
“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.”
Clinton was chosen for two brownfields assessment grants totaling $300,000 that will provide $200,000 to fund tasks for hazardous substance contamination assessment and $100,000 to fund potential petroleum contamination assessments.
In preparation for this application, personnel from the city met with members of the community to identify several potential brownfield sites impacting the community. The grant will now allow Clinton to fund the identification, assessment, and cleanup planning that will ultimately result in positive redevelopment of brownfield sites that are creating an impediment to economic and community health.
“This aligns well with, and furthers, the city’s 2015 Economic Development Strategic Plan, which recommends recruiting new businesses by mapping Clinton’s under-utilized and vacant properties (i.e. brownfields) to identify opportunities for redevelopment in areas where infrastructure (roads, utilities, and rail) already exist,” said Clinton’s city manager, Bill Ed Cannon.
The city will invite representatives of active community organizations and interested community members to serve on a brownfields task force to build the site inventory, help set priorities, assist with site access, and convey information to the community. The Task Force will hold regular community meetings to gather input, host educational seminars and workshops, and provide project updates through a variety of sources, such as the city’s website, local churches, and the local media. Additionally, the city has a professional services agreement with Cardno, Inc., a professional infrastructure and environmental services company, who will work closely with city personnel to develop and implement a work plan for this grant.
Finally, Clinton will host the EPA Brownfields Grant Award Ceremony for the State of South Carolina on Wednesday May 9 at 1:00 p.m. on the front lawn of the M.S. Bailey Municipal Center in Clinton. The public is invited to attend.
For more information, contact Mary-Wallace Riley, Grants and Communications Manager for the City of Clinton, at 864.200.4503 or email@example.com.