US EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

U.S. EPA Awards $175,000 Brownfield grant to City of Fresno for revitalization of Elm Ave Corridor

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More than $4 million awarded to 20 communities nationwide

LOS ANGELES -- This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will award $175,000 to the City of Fresno to assist with planning for cleanup and reuse of potentially contaminated sites as part of the Brownfields Area-Wide Planning program. Nationwide, EPA awarded approximately $4 million in these planning grants to 20 communities in 16 states across the country. The funds will be used to engage communities and conduct planning for Brownfields revitalization. Brownfields sites are property that may not be used or revitalized due to possible contamination.

With the grant funds, the city will work with the community and other stakeholders to develop an area-wide plan and implementation strategy for the Elm Avenue Corridor in southwest Fresno. This 2.25-mile long corridor connects several southwest Fresno neighborhoods which are considered to be economically disadvantaged. With this project, the city expects to develop a strategy for cleanup and reuse to assist in the transformation of the corridor to more community-serving uses.

“Southwest Fresno is working to overcome its industrial legacy and the environmental challenges left behind,” said Jared Blumenfeld Regional Administrator for EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “EPA’s Brownfields grants support their community revitalization efforts as they develop plans for walkable neighborhoods and essential services, such as housing and local shops.”

Brownfields planning under these grants will consider site reuse in conjunction with community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, employment, education and health facilities, and social services, as well as transportation options and infrastructure and commerce needs. Strategies for site reuse often lead to increased opportunities to leverage public and private investment and strengthen local economies.

Fresno’s Brownfields area-wide planning work builds on several previous EPA brownfields investments in the city. Since 2004 Fresno has received more than one million in EPA brownfields grants and technical assistance to assess and clean up blighted properties. With EPA’s partnership, Fresno is working on revitalizing Downtown and developing urban gardens. In 2011, EPA funded the “West Fresno Brownfields Action Plan” to improve awareness of Brownfields issues and increase the capacity of community organizations and citizens in West Fresno to organize and facilitate community-led revitalization of brownfield properties consistent with their priorities and needs.

The area-wide planning approach recognizes that revitalization of the area surrounding Brownfield sites is as critical to the successful reuse of the property as cleanup and redevelopment the site itself. The approach enables local leaders to conduct a community-wide systematic approach to identify uses and improvements in the area to foster public-private redevelopment efforts.

The 20 grantees are awarded up to $200,000 per recipient and will work with communities on Brownfields planning activities and reuse in conjunction with community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, employment, education and health facilities, social services, transportation options, infrastructure and commerce needs.

EPA’s Brownfields Area-Wide Planning program is part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities collaboration among EPA and the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. The Partnership for Sustainable Communities ensures that the agencies consider affordable housing, transportation, and environmental protection in concert to create healthier communities.

More information on the grant recipients: http://epa.gov/brownfields/areawide_grants.htm

More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: http://www.sustainablecommunities.gov/

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