On May 28, 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of 243 new Brownfields grant investments totaling $54.3 million to 147 communities across the US. This investment will provide communities with funding necessary to assess, clean up, and redevelop environmentally-impacted properties, boost local economies, and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment. Recipients will each receive approximately $200,000 – $600,000 in funding toward EPA cooperative agreements.
Several Pennsylvania municipalities were among those selected for grant funding, including the Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority (MCRDA), which received a $400,000 community-wide Brownfields Assessment Grant for the Borough of Pottstown.
Pottstown is a small, long-urbanized community with a population of 22,377, located on the Schuylkill River. The Brownfields Assessment Program (Program) to be implemented in Pottstown will support the redevelopment of long-idle and underutilized industrial and commercial properties to improve the economy and quality of life. MCRDA will administer the grant and will focus on providing an avenue for Pottstown’s participation in Montgomery County’s economic vitality, identifying meaningful redevelopment opportunities, and supplementing private sector efforts. According to the MCRDA’s most recent Brownfields Property Inventory, the County has more than 40 sites totaling nearly 1,000 acres that qualify for EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant support. Of those 40 sites, nearly half are located in Pottstown.
Grant funds will be used to initiate community involvement and engagement related to brownfields sites, properly inventory, characterize, assess, conduct reuse and cleanup planning, and serve as an anchor of transformation in the community. Environmental Standards serves as MCRDA’s environmental consultant and assisted with preparation of the EPA grant application. We are looking forward to continuing our work with MCRDA during implementation of the grant. By assessing environmental impacts at the target sites, a critical barrier to redevelopment in Pottstown will be removed.