The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected the Grays Harbor Council of Governments for two brownfields environmental site assessment grants totaling $600,000. With this funding, Grays Harbor and partner communities will assess up to 15 brownfields sites as an initial step towards cleaning up and redeveloping vacant and underutilized properties, transforming them into an asset for both the community and the local economy while protecting public health and the environment.
“EPA is committed to working with communities to redevelop Brownfields sites which have plagued their neighborhoods. EPA’s Assessment and Cleanup grants target communities that are economically disadvantaged and include places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These grants leverage considerable infrastructure and other investments, improving local economies and creating an environment where jobs can grow. I am very pleased the President’s budget recognizes the importance of these grants by providing continued funding for this important program.”
The Grays Harbor Council of Governments was selected for community-wide hazardous substances grant funds totaling $300,000 that will be used to conduct 15 environmental site assessments and prepare three cleanup plans. In addition, these communities were selected for community-wide petroleum grant funds of $300,000 to conduct the same tasks at sites with potential petroleum contamination. Grant funds of both types also will be used to update the current brownfields inventory, create up to two area-wide plans, and support community outreach and involvement activities.
Assessment activities will focus on the economically distressed areas of Fry Creek in East Hoquiam and West Aberdeen, Downtown Aberdeen, and Downtown Cosmopolis. Coalition partners are the Cities of Aberdeen, Hoquiam, and Cosmopolis. The Coalition will use brownfield grant funding to inventory and assess sites within these economically distressed target areas that have been identified as redevelopment opportunity zones.
Preliminary research has identified over 1,000 vacant or underutilized brownfield parcels in the target areas. Revitalizing key commercial industrial, downtown, waterfront, and historic districts is vital to the health and livelihood of these small communities. Brownfield assessment activities will support community vision by serving as a catalyst for redevelopment that will produce shovel-ready sites, improve vacancy rates of the existing facilities, provide new jobs for locals, generate new sources of tax revenue, and provide many other benefits.
“Prolonged decline in the logging and fishing industries has led to an abundance of distressed or underutilized properties in the economic hub of Grays Harbor County,” said Vicki Cummings, Executive Director of the Grays County Council of Governments. “EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant funding is critical to supporting our ongoing revitalization initiatives in the key commercial, industrial, downtown, waterfront, and historic districts of Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Cosmopolis.”
Brownfields assessment and cleanup grants target communities with significant distress. These communities are economically disadvantaged — neighborhoods where environmental assessment, cleanup and new jobs are most needed for residents that have historically been left behind.
Grays Harbor is one of 172 communities selected nationally for new brownfields assessment and cleanup funding in 2017. Across the country, $56.8 million in funding will be granted.
For more information about Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment Grants: www.epa.gov/brownfields
To view fact sheets about the 2017 grant recipients: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-list-fy17-grants-selected-funding