Spokane selected for FY19 EPA Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant - University District Partners to Benefit

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

EPA selects nine Pacific Northwest and Alaska projects to receive $4.59 million for cleanup and assessment

149 communities nationwide to receive $64.6 million in Brownfields Grants

Contact: Bill Dunbar/ EPA-Seattle/ 206-553-1019/ dunbar.bill@epa.gov

SEATTLE - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing that nine Northwest and Alaska communities have been selected to receive a total of $4.59 million to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency’s Brownfields program. (For details see attached project snapshots list)

Nationwide, 149 communities have been selected to receive 151 grant awards totaling $64,623,553 in EPA Brownfields funding through our Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup Grant Programs. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities in opportunity zones and other parts of the country in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Forty percent of the communities selected for funding will receive assistance for the first time.

“These grants fulfill several of President Trump’s top priorities simultaneously: helping communities in need transform contaminated sites into community assets that not only create jobs and jumpstart economic development but also improve public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are targeting these funds to areas that need them the most. Approximately 40 percent of the selected recipients are receiving Brownfields grants for the first time, which means we are reaching areas that may previously been neglected, and 108 of the selected communities have identified sites or targeted areas for redevelopment that fall within Opportunity Zones.”

One hundred and eight communities selected nationally for grants this year have identified sites or targeted areas in census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones. An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.


Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfields Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. For example, Brownfields grants have been shown to:

Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.

Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfields sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.

A Brownfields property is a parcel for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S.

As of May 2019, 30,153 properties have been assessed under the EPA Brownfields Program, and 86,131 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use Brownfields grants to leverage 150,120 jobs and more than

$28 billion of public and private funding.

The 2019 National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on December 11-13 in Los Angeles. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties. EPA cosponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.


Region 10 Brownfields Projects

Spokane, Washington

Teri Stripes, 509-625-6597

Assessment Grant: $450,000 hazardous substances, $150,000 petroleum

EPA has selected the City of Spokane for a Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant. Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct nine Phase I and six Phase II environmental site assessments and to prepare six cleanup plans and four reuse plans. Community-wide petroleum grant funds will be used to conduct five Phase I, and two Phase II, environmental site assessments and to prepare two cleanup plans and two reuse plans. Grant funds of both types also will be used to update the inventory of brownfield sites and conduct community outreach activities. The target area for this grant is the 770-acre University District located along the Spokane River. Coalition partners are the University District Public Development Authority, Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane, Gonzaga University, and the Empire Health Foundation.


City of Spokane release:

The City of Spokane learned today that Spokane’s University District was selected for a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess possible brownfield sites to determine cleanup needs that will allow for redevelopment.

A coalition of partners worked together to seek the grant, including the University District Development Association, WSU Health Sciences Spokane, Gonzaga University, and the Empire Health Foundation, along with the City. More information on the EPA grant is found on their national web site with greater detail on the Region 10 web site. Spokane is within Region 10. An EPA fact sheet on the City’s award is attached.

Leaders from the partner organizations are reacting to the news:

“Our City of Spokane joint Strategic Plan, One Spokane, focuses on initiatives and programs that help create a safer, healthier and smarter City. This brownfields grant advances those goals. For this project, we have created an incredible community partnership that’s committed to strengthening the University District by assisting private property owners. We are thankful that the EPA recognized this potential.”

--Spokane Mayor David Condon

“Gonzaga University has been committed to strengthening this community for over a century and we are grateful to the EPA for a powerful tool to help address long-standing brownfields in the University District,” said Chuck Murphy, Gonzaga’s Chief Strategy Officer. “Helping property owners who don’t have the resources or experience to identify, assess, and remediate contamination is vital to advancing development plans, as well as the overall health and well-being of our neighbors and the District.”

--Chuck Murphy, Chief Strategy Officer, Gonzaga University

“The importance of community wellness cannot be underestimated and we appreciate the EPA’s commitment to support and address conditions that affect the environment, public health, and socioeconomics. This grant to the University District Coalition partners will spark outreach around equity, health and economic prosperity.”

--Antony Chiang, President, Empire Health Foundation

“The University District is committed to creating a vibrant place where business and education grow together. Real and perceived contamination has been a barrier to our work and we are ecstatic for this EPA Coalition grant. This creates opportunities for small businesses and property owners that have invested in this community for generations as well as anyone that lives, learns, works, and plays in the District.”

--Lars Gilberts, CEO, University District Development Association

“The cleanup of the WSU Health Sciences Spokane campus was possible because of an engaged community and we are excited to be part of helping others redevelop their distressed and underutilized properties. Tremendous thanks to the EPA for supporting the University District Coalition members as we seek to build a healthy community that is also a globally-recognized hub of education, innovation, research, health-care and job growth.”

--Daryll DeWald, Chancellor, WSU Health Sciences Spokane

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