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EPA Brownfield Grants can help restore blighted properties

By John Mura/Robin Hartman

Frankfort, KY - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released guidance for the FY 2021 Brownfield Grant applications. These multipurpose assessment and cleanup grants are available to local governments, quasi-governmental agencies and nonprofits to help assess, clean up and reutilize brownfields - blighted, abandoned properties that may pose environmental concerns.

"Our commonwealth is already an amazing place to live, but these grants help Kentucky's cities and towns reach their full potential," said Gov. Beshear. "Just as important, they help protect our people and landscape from potential environmental hazards."

An estimated 8,000 brownfields exist across the commonwealth. Properties may include abandoned schools, hospitals, gas stations and dry cleaners, former factories and mine-scarred lands.

"Kentucky has had great success with brownfield redevelopment through EPA grants over the past few years," said Amanda LeFevre, Director of the Division of Compliance Assistance, which oversees Kentucky's Brownfields Program. "These funds have been used to clean up and transform old theaters, former school buildings, abandoned industrial sites and more."

More than $15 million in competitive Brownfield Grant funding has been awarded to Kentucky since 2006. Last year's examples of approved project sites include a former textile mill adjacent to downtown Middlesboro, a vacant three-story former bank building in Hazard, a vacant bakery site in Pineville's downtown gateway and the former Newport Steel and Ludlow Incinerator properties in Northern Kentucky.

"Through this program, with federal, state and local partners, we're able to support our communities and encourage the re-establishment of abandoned properties that may otherwise never be reused," said Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman. "Many of these properties are located in opportunity zones where new investment is needed to support local economic growth."

Once a project is approved by the EPA for funding, an environmental site assessment takes place and a plan of action is developed. The Energy and Environment Cabinet provides programs and services to help with these properties, and works with local entities to provide expert guidance and technical and site management assistance.

Information, including frequently asked questions and changes in this year's guidance are posted on the EPA's brownfield funding page. Grant application writing tools including checklists, sample support letters and successful grant applications can be found on the Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program grant writing resources page. Grant applications are due to the EPA by Oct. 28, 2020.

If you are interested in submitting a grant application or want to learn more about federal Brownfield Grants and state resources for properties in your community, please contact or for more information.

This story was posted on 2020-08-21 17:15:30
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