City gets $400K grant
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
May 29, 2014, 13:40
HOPEWELL — The City of Hopewell has been awarded another grant, the second in a six month time frame, totaling $400,000. The grant will go toward continuing redevelopment in the city.
In 1995, the Environmental Protection Agency established the Brownfields Program. Brownfields are defined as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”
Since the program began many years ago, more than $21 billion has been pulled from many public and private entities for cleanup and redevelopment and those investments have resulted in 93,000 jobs nationwide.
The city of Hopewell was awarded $400,000 from the Brownfields Grant — $200,000 for hazardous substances and $200,000 for petroleum, according to the EPA.
The funds will be used for a total of 14 environmental site assessments.
The grant funds from both will also be used to conduct cleanup planning, public meetings and informational materials. Evan Kaufman, director of the Hopewell Downtown Partnership, who coordinated the grant efforts along with other members of the city and outside agencies, was pleased for the city to receive the grant, which he said was “highly competitive.”
“We were very excited,” Kaufman said upon receipt of the grant, which is Hopewell’s first Brownfields Assessment grant. “We didn’t tell a lot of people because it was such a competitive process. This grant will give us the tools to help further some of our downtown and city-wide revitalization goals.”
A total of $67 million was given toward the Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup Grants. 171 communities in 44 states were selected for the grants and Hopewell is only one of two localities selected for the grant in Virginia, the other being in Pulaski.
Since the start of the EPA’s brownfield’s program, Virginia has received more than $16 million in Brownfield funding.
“By assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties in Hopewell and Pulaski these communities are building a healthier future while creating new job opportunities,” said Shawn Garvin, EPA Regional Administrator, in a press release. “We have seen tremendous accomplishments in communities throughout Virginia in transforming contaminated sites into valuable areas for new businesses and other opportunities.”
Kaufman said the money will greatly aid the Downtown Partnership, as well as the city, in completing the assessments of the Brownfield Sites, which he said can be costly. He said those plans will help property owners and developers with the redevelopment and reuse of key sites in the city.
Though tight-lipped on what sites will be studied, Kaufman indicated that there are additional grants available for the remediation of the Brownfield Sites if these initial studies prove that it is needed.
“This grant provides another economic development tool,” Kaufman said.