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Palatka EPA Brownfields Initiative
EPA's Brownfields Program empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. A brownfield site is 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.
EPA Fact Sheet Webpage
In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was passed to help states and communities around the country cleanup and revitalize brownfields sites. Under this law, EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through four competitive grant programs: assessment grants, revolving loan fund grants, cleanup grants, and job training grants.
What Steps are involved in the Process?
- First, the City identifies sites that have redevelopment potential and also meet the definition of a Brownfield and then offer to meet with the owners who express interest in participating.
- Next and with the property owners consent, consultants investigate the site background by looking at historic information – which include photographs or written records and a site reconnaissance – this is termed the Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). (led by consultant Ayres Associates)
- A report is prepared and recommendations within the report dictate if the site is ready for redevelopment or further investigation may be necessary.
- The planners prepare a master plan for future potential development, working with the land owners and facilitating a public participation process to shape and prioritize that plan.
- A variety of strategies are used to implement the plan, including pursuit of grants and financial assistance to build infrastructure and mitigate contamination to clear sites for redevelopment.
How long is the Process?
The information collection can often be completed within three to four weeks, and field investigations, if required, from four to six weeks. If a contractor is interested in starting a new development or renovating a building, the site assessment activities can be completed quickly enough to allow them to proceed on schedule.
Positive Impacts on Our Community
What does the assessment project mean for Palatka residents?
This is truly a community project and participation, questions, and open discussion are vital to its success. All types of interest and participation are anticipated and some of the rewards are highlighted below.
- Quality Place – Improve the vitality of downtown.
- Improved Tax Base – Putting new businesses on vacant land.
- Economic Gain – Surrounding neighborhoods often increase in value when these areas are improved.
- Increased Tourism – In areas that may not currently be attractive.
- Health of the Environment – Cleaning up areas of contamination.
- Safer Neighborhoods – Areas that are rundown attract crime, rehabilitation brings safer neighborhoods.
- Community Pride – It's a place people want to be.
There are hundreds of examples across the country of success stories. Old gas stations and industrial yards becoming new coffee shops and local schools; riverfront landfills becoming vibrant breeding grounds for aquatic life, and growth of downtown marketplaces on top of historic industrial sites.
Positive Economic and Community Impacts
Studies indicate that brownfield redevelopment in communities across the nation lead to:
- Positive Employment and Investment Impacts – Over 50,000 jobs and $14 billion in new investment stemmed from use of EPA Brownfield Grants and resulting redevelopment.
- EPA Brownfield Grants leverage investment ranging from $1/public investment to nearly $20/total investment
- EPA Brownfield Grants leverage one job for every $5,700 in public costs, as compared with $35,000/job for U.S. HUD and U.S. SBA grants.
- Cleanup and redevelopment lead to property value increases between 5-15% for properties within ¾ mile from a redeveloped brownfield site.
- Direct generation of local tax revenue and lower investment in infrastructure on "Greenfields" is an added benefit.