POSTED ON MAY 13th, 2009
Milwaukee to receive $2 million for brownfields
City’s successful use of funds attracts additional EPA dollars
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Congresswoman Gwendolyn Moore announced today the City of Milwaukee’s Redevelopment Authority is set to receive $2 million in funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for assessment and clean-up of brownfields. A portion of the grants are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Brownfields are contaminated, blighted properties that require clean-up to put back into use. One of the innovative tools in the City of Milwaukee’s economic development toolbox is the Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund, which provides low-interest loans and grants for environmental remediation and clean-up of brownfield sites.
“We’ve been successful in securing $1 million a year from the EPA for the past six years for this revolving loan fund and are using it to leverage development that creates jobs, increases tax base and acts as a catalyst for future development,” said Mayor Barrett. “I want to thank our Congressional partners in supporting our requests for these funds. Milwaukee has a stellar reputation for putting these dollars to use.”
“I am really pleased that the EPA’s grants and revolving loan fund monies continue to be awarded to Milwaukee for their work on behalf of Brownfield cleanup and restoration efforts,” said Congresswoman Moore.
The EPA grants announced today include $1 million for the successful Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund; $400,000 to assess contamination on brownfield sites and $600,000 to be used for the clean-up of three brownfields:
- 31st & Galena – an area where the City of Milwaukee is focusing on cleaning up blighted and contaminated former industrial sites. Redevelopment could take on a variety of forms including a multi-generational residential development, single family homes and/or urban agricultural initiatives.
- 2055 N. 30th Street - The City foreclosed on this 1 ½ acre tax delinquent brownfield in 2007 and removed four underground storage tanks. Due to the property’s size and other limitations, it will not likely be redeveloped by an industrial user. Alternative redevelopment strategies may include urban agriculture.
- 104 E. Nash Street - the City of Milwaukee’s “original brownfield.” The site was historically utilized as an electroplating facility and has been vacant and blighted since before the City’s foreclosure over 20 years ago. Due to the great extent and nature of contamination at the site, development is not economically feasible, therefore the City will use the cleanup grant for soil excavation, pytoremediation (or planting trees that remove soil and groundwater contamination). A brownfield across the street was used to expand Medovations, a long-time central city business.
The Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund has made possible such projects as:
- The redevelopment of a former Ampco Foundry at 1745 S. 38th Street into the Stadium Business Park development, attracting 200 jobs and four growing businesses.
- Conversion of the former Kramer Foundry project at 140 S. 1st Street into an affordable housing, retail and office space. The project created 213 new jobs, and 60 new, affordable places to live.
- Redevelopment of a former railroad yard in the Menomonee Valley into the Valley Industrial Center, one of Wisconsin’s most talked-about renewal projects. Several businesses are now growing in this former brownfield and when the center is fully built, it will be home to an estimated 1,200 new jobs. The project, which includes the innovative Stormwater Park, is nationally recognized as a model for sustainable development.
Assessment funding will cover costs associated with environmental investigation of the nature and extent of contamination of vacant or abandoned sites. This is often the first necessary step of redevelopment
For more information about the City’s Brownfields program, visit www.city.milwaukee.gov/BrownfieldsRedevelopment.htm.