Dallas/Santa Fe -- EPA is awarding $350,000 to the New Mexico Environment Department for supplemental brownfields funding. The money goes to a revolving loan fund to help the state fund shovel-ready projects to redevelop contaminated sites.
“Brownfields grants accomplish so much for local communities—economic development, job training and creation, and cleanup of contaminated sites,” said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “Previous brownfields investments have provided substantial return for the State of New Mexico, and I know they’ll work toward similar results with these loans.”
“The grant will help New Mexico’s Brownfields Program’s efforts in assisting with the revitalization of abandoned and underused properties throughout New Mexico,” said Secretary-Designate Ryan Flynn. “We appreciate the EPA recognizing how important NMED’s support of local and tribal revitalization projects is and look forward to continuing to work with them on future related projects. We share the same goal of making sure sites like these are cleaned up and redeveloped to benefit the community.”
The Santa Fe Railyard is an example of a successful brownfields project. The site is a 50-acre property located near Cerrillos Road and Saint Francis Drive in Santa Fe. In 1995, the City of Santa Fe purchased the mostly vacant property with the intent of redeveloping it. However, development was delayed due to concerns about environmental contamination due to past operations. NMED provided environmental site assessment assistance to the City of Santa Fe from 1999 through 2000. In 2003 the City enrolled the property into New Mexico’s Voluntary Remediation Program to enlist state oversight during the remediation process. After completing the Voluntary Remediation Program in 2006, the City could confidently open the property to new development. The grand opening for the Santa Fe Railyard featured a Farmers Market, museums, and a mix of art spaces, shops and art galleries. The Railyard Park now serves as a community meeting place and center of activities for residents and tourists alike. Additionally, the New Mexico Railrunner commuter train connects the historic Santa Fe Depot to Albuquerque and the communities along the I-25 corridor.
EPA also announced that approximately $15 million in supplemental funding is being awarded nationwide to help clean up contaminated Brownfields properties. The Revolving Loan Funding (RLF) will help 41 communities carry out cleanup and redevelopment projects. These projects will help communities create jobs while protecting people’s health and the environment.
Revolving loan funds specifically supply funding for grant recipients to provide loans and sub-grants to carry out cleanup activities at Brownfield sites. When these loans are repaid, the loan amount is then returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital for Brownfield redevelopment efforts.
There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States. EPA’s Brownfields program targets these sites to encourage redevelopment, and help to provide the opportunity for productive community use of contaminated properties. EPA’s Brownfields investments overall have leveraged more than $20 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding from public and private sources and on average, $17.79 is leveraged for every EPA Brownfields grant dollar spent. The funds have enabled the support of 90,000 jobs in cleanup, construction and redevelopment.
More information on EPA’s Brownfields program: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/
More information on Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grants: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/rlflst.htm