MCRDA Receives $1M US EPA Brownfield Grant to Bolster Successful Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) formally announced on Friday, September 9, 2022, that $1M in Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant monies were awarded to the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Montgomery (MCRDA). The funding was made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The announcement was made by Janet McCabe, US EPA Deputy Administrator, during a press conference at the former Pottstown Plating Works property, a long-vacant property in the Borough of Pottstown that has received both federal and state brownfield grant funding for assessment and cleanup planning activities.
Prior to the press conference, McCabe and a group of dignitaries toured two additional brownfield sites in Pottstown including the Hess Lot at the intersection of S. Hanover Street and College Drive and the Iron Globe property located on Keystone Boulevard. The redevelopment of both sites has been complicated by potential environmental impacts. Pottstown Area Economic Development (PAED) recently issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for development of the Hess Lot, which can be viewed here.
The RLF Grant funding announced by McCabe will be used by MCRDA to provide low-interest loans and subgrants to eligible entities for environmental remediation and associated activities at brownfields sites in Montgomery County with a focus on Pottstown-area sites. As loans are repaid, the program income (principal repayment and interest) is returned to the fund and can be lent again to other borrowers, providing an ongoing (revolving) source of capital. This source of funding is particularly valuable because conventional commercial lending is typically not an option for environmental cleanup activities. Oftentimes the cost of remediation makes redevelopment projects economically infeasible without assistance. Loans and subgrants for remediation can bridge these funding gaps.
Rebecca Swanson, Executive Director of MCRDA, remarked during the press conference that MCRDA’s Brownfield Program and the work completed to date at Pottstown Plating “could be a national model of how to patchwork public and private funding together to make places like this into an asset.” In fact, Swanson presented last month at Brownfields 2022 along with Susan Spielberger, US EPA Branch Chief, and Joseph Kraycik, Environmental Standards Senior Consulting Geoscientist on this very topic. The session titled “The Synergistic Effect of Using Multiple Grants to Facilitate Project Success,” was well attended and resulted in meaningful dialogue between the presenters and audience members.
MCRDA’s successful Brownfields Program began with a US EPA RLF Pilot Grant in 2002. This was one of the first brownfield grants issued by US EPA following the enactment of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act on January 11, 2002. Since that time, MCRDA has been awarded numerous federal and state brownfield grants totaling nearly $5M. The MCRDA Brownfields Program has been very successful and continues to stimulate development of a safer, healthier, economically stronger, and more attractive community. The program facilitates the highest and best use of properties, creates jobs, and generates tax revenue while helping to reduce crime and blight.
MCRDA is currently implementing a US EPA Community-Wide Assessment Grant and an RLF Grant. 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. The current Assessment Grant has been used to conduct five Phase I ESAs and three Phase II ESAs.
In addition to federal funding, MCRDA often taps both state and local programs for project assistance. For example, The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) recently announced that MCRDA was selected to receive a grant in the amount of $467,636 for remediation at the Pottstown Plating site under DCED’s Industrial Sites Reuse Program (ISRP). Among other tasks, this funding will be used to install a vapor barrier to ensure that indoor air quality is safe for future workers at the site. It is anticipated that following redevelopment, the property will be home to a light industry/manufacturing business.
Environmental Standards is proud to serve as MCRDA’s environmental consultant. In this role, we provide MCRDA with the following services:
- US EPA and state-funded brownfield grant implementation and management
- Site inventorying
- Project progress and financial reporting
- Phase I and II ESAs
- Remediation and reuse planning
- Remedial oversight
- Community outreach and engagement
- Grant writing and application preparation
Environmental Standards congratulates MCRDA on its recent RLF and ISRP Grant awards and looks forward to continuing our long and successful relationship with MCRDA.