Muncie, IN – Roy Budd, Executive Director of the Energize-ECI Regional Planning District, announced the preparation and submission of a $609,000 Brownfield Assessment grant proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on behalf of the recently formed Energize-ECI Brownfield Coalition. Members of the Coalition include Blackford, Delaware, Grant and Jay counties.
The primary focus of the grant application is to establish a plan to identify and develop a comprehensive inventory of brownfield properties existing in the four counties and determine what, if any, assessment or remediation work has been performed on the sites.
Grant funding will also be used to assess a number of priority sites in the four counties, with a next-step plan for remediation. The grant proposal identified an example site from each county with a proposed program for remediation and the return of the properties to productive uses for the communities in which they are located.
The assessment and potential cleanups of the sites will address public health and safety issues, plus help improve property values in the affected areas. Redevelopment and reuse of the sites will also have a positive economic development impact on the communities and the region.
Sheila Cannon, Resource Development Manager for Energize-ECI Regional Planning District, served as lead coordinator for the grant application, assisted by Tom Farris and a team of environmental specialists.
Preliminary work on the grant proposal included meetings with County Commissioners, economic development officials, redevelopment organizations, environmental groups, brownfield specialists, health departments and other government entities.
Public input was invited and received in the process. The EPA will announce grant awards in April of 2011, with project work to begin within several months of the announcement date. Funded programs may be developed and completed over a three-year period.
A brownfield site is defined as real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, controlled substances, petroleum or petroleum products, or is mine-scarred.
A number of such properties exist throughout the four- county region. Being awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant will allow the District to initiate a significant brownfield revitalization program with the scope of work including the following four tasks:
- Community outreach – educating the communities in the four counties in general and specifically about the brownfield coalition. A minimum of twelve public meetings will be conducted, as well as frequent meetings with partners and stakeholders.
- Inventory and prioritization – collecting information on existing brownfields throughout the coalition area and prioritizing them based on project readiness,potential safety hazards, economic impact and other factors.
- Site assessments – performing twenty-two Phase I Environment Site Assessments, fourteen Phase II Environmental Site Assessments and six Remedial Action Plans or Risk Evaluation Reports following the IDEM’s Risk Integrated System of Closure (RISC).
- Cleanup planning – creating Remedial Action Plans and/or Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments, as necessary, to guide the cleanup and/or redevelopment and reuse process.
The ultimate goals of the grant will be the assessment of abandoned and potentially contaminated business, industrial, and/or residential sites; and development of plans for the transformation of such abandoned, blighted areas back into revenue-generating properties such as businesses, homes or recreational areas needed and desired in the communities.
The grant will fortify the revitalization efforts of the affected communities as well as provide incentives for bringing new businesses into the region and improve the overall quality of life and safety for all residents.
Sheila Cannon advised, “Whether or not our grant proposal is funded this year, we know the importance of remediating, redeveloping and reusing brownfield sites. Consider them industrial-sized blight. They look bad and many pose health and safety hazards to the neighborhoods and communities. We plan to keep a focus on brownfields and continue to make progress on priority sites. Website developer, C.S. Kern, is developing a website for our Energize-ECI Brownfield Coalition, so we can directly engage the public and governmental agencies – building and posting an inventory of area brownfield sites and providing updated progress reports on each. We welcome the engagement of interested agencies, organizations, groups and individuals to collaborate with the Coalition to continue the progress on redeveloping brownfields in the region. Health, safety and economic development – all of which directly impact our residents and businesses – are our priority concerns.”
About the Energize-ECI Regional Planning District
The Energize-ECI Regional Planning District is a multi-county, economic development and planning district governmental agency serving Blackford, Delaware, Grant and Jay counties. The District was formed by the member counties in September of 2009 under Indiana State Statute and is recognized by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The District’s scope of work is to manage the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Report of the four counties, assist in economic development and planning matters, and to secure grants which help meet the priority needs of the communities and counties within the District. The District is housed in the offices of Energize-ECI, Inc. in Muncie. Details about the Energize-ECI Regional Planning District may be viewed at www.energize-ecirpd.org. The District may be contacted at P.O. Box 1912, Muncie, IN 47308-1912; by phone 765.254.0116; fax 765.254.1450; and by email email@example.com.
P.O. Box 1912
Muncie, IN 47308-1912