News

Wilson Shares in $1M Grant to Combat Brownfields


Wilson, N.C. (June 2, 2014) -- The City of Wilson will be receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up polluted sites and help bring them back to use.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will be making 264 grants totally $67 million to 171 communities nationwide to redevelop “brownfields,” which are properties suspected or known to be contaminated by past chemical use, such as former industries or commercial businesses.

The EPA awarded two grants -- $600,000 to deal with hazardous substances and $400,000 for petroleum pollution – to the City of Wilson and its co-applicant, the City of Greenville, N.C.

Wilson Mayor Bruce Rose celebrated the good news Friday.

“This is tremendous, a real boost to some parts of our community that need help,” Rose said. “Anything we can do to put these properties back to work and create jobs, we need to do."

The grants will fund a brownfields revolving loan fund, which the cities will use to provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities for sites contaminated with hazardous substances and petroleum.

City Planner Michelle Brown, who oversees the city’s brownfields program, said the two cities are still determining the logistics of administering the program. There’s not a formula for how much would be spent in either city, she said.

More details will be announced during a public event Wednesday, June 4, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, 301 S. Goldsboro St. EPA officials, Wilson and Greenville officials and others will speak during the grants’ award ceremony.

The event will also include a walking tour of brownfield sites, followed by refreshments at Nash Street Lofts.

The FY14 Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) grants are intended to clean and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment. They give communities and businesses a chance to return economic stability to under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods through the assessment and clean-up of abandoned industrial and commercial properties, places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed. .

“Not only are these funds protecting the environment and public health by helping communities clean up blighted toxic waste sites, there are new job growth opportunities for local economies to leverage through these investments," said Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator. “With cities looking at how to combat the impacts of climate change, it's more important than ever for communities to innovate new ways to retrofit formerly polluted sites into assets for the community."

Since the inception of the EPA’s Brownfields Program in 1995, cumulative brownfield program investments have leveraged more than $21 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 93,000 jobs nationwide. These projects demonstrate the positive impact a small investment of federal brownfields funding can have on community revitalization through leveraging jobs, producing clean energy, and providing recreation opportunities for surrounding neighborhoods. EPA’s Brownfields Program empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields sites. .

More information on brownfields grants by state: http://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/

More information on EPA’s brownfields:

Program http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/
Success Stories http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/success/index.htm

Program Accomplishments http://epa.gov/brownfields/overview/bf-monthly-report.html