Here in the Pacific Northwest, EPA has selected the City of Astoria for a Brownfields multi-purpose pilot grant. Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to assess and clean up the Heritage Square site located at 1153 Duane Street. Once the site of an auto repair shop, a dry cleaner and later a printer, the Duane Street location will be redeveloped as an outdoor community gathering place with an amphitheater, market plaza, boardwalk and covered pavilions.
EPA believes that by investing in local redevelopment, communities can help clean up America’s land, boost local economies and create jobs while protecting public health.
“Investment in the clean up and reuse of contaminated property is a catalyst for improving people’s lives,” said EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus. “This funding will help foster local economic growth and leverage jobs in communities where they are needed most. A revitalized Brownfields site reduces threats to human health and the environment, promotes community involvement, and attracts investment in local neighborhoods.”
A Nod to Local Chinese History
A historic dimension to the Astoria redevelopment project is the Garden of Surging Waves, a non-traditional Chinese Garden that will be a tribute to Astoria's Chinese heritage. Astoria has a rich and diverse social history, populated with a variety of ethnic groups, many of which are honored elsewhere in the community. But until now, Astoria’s early Chinese history has remained obscure. When fishing and fish canneries were two of Astoria’s primary industries, Chinese men were a key part of the cannery workforce.
EPA’s Brownfields Program
There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in America. EPA’s Brownfields program targets these sites to encourage redevelopment, and help provide the opportunity for productive community use of contaminated properties. Brownfields grants target under-served and low income neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed.
Since inception in 1995, EPA’s Brownfields investments have leveraged more than $18.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding from a variety of public and private sources and have resulted in approximately 75,500 jobs. So far in 2012, EPA has awarded $69.3 million to 245 grantees in 39 states across the country to assess and clean up abandoned industrial and commercial properties.
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/