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Montgomery County RDA’s Brownfields Program Success Continues

Montgomery County RDA’s Brownfields Program Success Continues

The good news kept coming this past spring for the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Montgomery (MCRDA). First, on May 6, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

(US EPA) informed MCRDA of its selection as a Community-wide Brownfields Assessment Grant recipient. The $300,000 grant will be used to conduct environmental assessments, remediation and reuse planning, and community engagement in Montgomery County with a focus on projects located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. This news was particularly welcome given that MCRDA’s existing Assessment Grant expired on September 30, 2020. In the award letter, David R. Lloyd, US EPA Director of Brownfields and Land Revitalization, stated that, “The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Montgomery submitted an outstanding application, and we deeply appreciate the tremendous commitment of time and energy that went into its preparation.”

More good news came on May 27, 2020, when US EPA announced a $300,000 supplemental funding award to augment MCRDA’s existing Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grant

(RLF Grant). RLF Grants are used to capitalize a fund to provide low-interest loans and subgrants to eligible parties to cleanup brownfield sites. When loans are repaid, the program income (principal repayment and interest) is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing (revolving) source of capital within a community. The news got even better in June when US EPA informed MCRDA that the supplemental award amount was increased by $75,000, thereby bringing the total supplemental award to $375,000. This award coupled with the required 20% cost share means that MCRDA will have an additional $450,000 in RLF Grant funds for local brownfield cleanup projects. The original MCRDA RLF Grant of $800,000 was also bolstered with supplemental funding of $450,000 in 2016 and $500,000 in 2018.

On June 10, 2020, US EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, held a press conference in Pottstown announcing the US EPA FY2021 Brownfields Grants and supplemental RLF Grant awards. The press conference was held in front of the former Pottstown Mercury Newspaper building, a site that has received both assessment and RLF grant funding from MCRDA. The building is currently being renovated and will become a boutique hotel and restaurant in the near future.

Since 1999, US EPA has provided MCRDA with over $4 million in brownfields funding to assess, cleanup, and facilitate redevelopment of brownfields sites. Some of the recent MCRDA Brownfields Program successes have included the following:

Utilizing a FY 2016 $400,000 Community-wide Assessment Grant, MCRDA was able to complete nine Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) and six Phase II ESAs. By conducting these ESAs, uncertainty regarding environmental conditions at the properties was removed, allowing developers, property owners, and other project stakeholders to make informed decisions regarding site redevelopment. Remediation and reuse planning were also undertaken including a community information and engagement session associated with the Pollock Park site in Pottstown. To date, $3.1M in funding has been leveraged for assessment and remedial actions on projects that received assistance under this Assessment Grant. Cleanup is complete at three sites with remediation and redevelopment underway at two additional sites.

MCRDA has used its current RLF Grant to make six low-interest loans totaling $1.5M and one sub-grant in the amount of $43,000 for environmental remediation projects within the county. Leveraged funding from other federal, state, local, and private sources associated with these projects currently totals $22.5M. Nearly 350 jobs have been created because of these redevelopment projects.

Environmental Standards has proudly served as MCRDA’s environmental consultant since 2012 and was recently contracted to continue in this role. Consulting services that we provide to MCRDA include:

  • US EPA and state-funded brownfield grant implementation and management
  • Site inventorying
  • Project progress and financial reporting
  • Phase I and II environmental site assessments
  • Remediation and reuse planning
  • Remedial oversight
  • Community outreach and engagement
  • Grant writing and application preparation

Environmental Standards congratulates MCRDA on its recent Assessment Grant and supplemental RLF Grant awards and looks forward to continuing our long and successful relationship with MCRDA.

Joe Kraycik

Senior Consulting Geoscientist