The Region 6 Office of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced two brownfield grants related to Arkansas.
EPA is providing $300,000 a piece in funding to:
- Pulaski County, Arkansas
- Southwest Arkansas Planning & Development District
Many states (including Arkansas) and the federal government have statutes, regulations and policies that are intended to address “brownfields.” Brownfields are also often referred to as real property (improved and unimproved), the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants.
Incentive provisions, liability exemptions, funding programs, and action/cleanup standards have been utilized for a number of years to attempt to reduce the barriers for reuse or redevelopment of brownfield properties. The goal of the Brownfield Programs is to encourage redevelopment investment in such properties to increase the local tax base, facilitate job growth, utilize existing infrastructure, encourage infield, and take pressure off greenspace.
The previously referenced grants to Pulaski County and the Southwest Arkansas Planning & Development District are provided by a section of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act which is a component of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. It authorizes EPA to provide federal assistance for brownfield revitalization, including grants for assessment, cleanup and job training.
EPA announced the grants pursuant to a May 8th virtual event. Participants included:
- Ronnie Crossland, EPA Region 6 Land, Chemical, and Redevelopment Director
- Barry Hyde, County Judge, Pulaski County
- Renee Dycus, Executive Director, Southwest Arkansas Planning & Development District
The Southwest Arkansas Planning & Development District states that it will target the City of El Dorado’s Hillsboro Street Gateway Corridor in regards to the brownfield grant. This area is stated to be located within a Qualified Opportunity Zone. Priority sites are stated to include:
- A former automotive repair and filling station
- A former tractor dealership and repair business
A copy of the May 8th Pulaski County news release can be downloaded here and the Southwest Arkansas Planning & Development District news release here.