The Economic Development Authority of the City of Lynchburg (the EDA) has again been selected to receive $300,000 in assessment grants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue to assist businesses and property owners to identify, assess and begin redevelopment of brownfields in the City. Funding dedicated to the assessment of sites potentially impacted by hazardous substances and petroleum will be used to conduct Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments, cleanup and redevelopment planning and community engagement activities. The EDA first received a federal brownfields grant in 2015.
“EPA’s Brownfields Program expands the ability of communities to recycle vacant and abandoned properties for new, productive reuses, using existing infrastructure,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These grants leverage other public and private investments, and improve local economies through property cleanup and redevelopment.”
The City of Lynchburg “Fields of Opportunity” program works with property owners to identify, assess and prepare for potential cleanup of previously hazardous buildings or sites and as well as to give the community the opportunity to reap the benefits of redevelopment and restore economic vitality. Brownfields are idled, underutilized, or abandoned industrial or commercial properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.
While the EDA will continue to address brownfields City-wide, particular emphasis for the current grant proposal will be placed on Lynchburg City Census Tract 19, an area generally referred to as Tyreeanna, which lies east of Downtown and the City’s 2015 target area, Mid-Town.
“This project will help us gain a better understanding of the real conditions of sites ready for redevelopment in the City,” said Marjette Upshur, director of Economic Development and Tourism. “Funds help to proactively begin beneficial re-use of these increasingly underutilized properties. With the revitalization of this area the City can experience economic growth through reinvestment, greater employment opportunities, reduced environmental threats and an enhanced quality of life.”
In total, the EPA selected 144 communities nationwide for brownfields environmental Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup grants. The 221 grants totaling $54.3 million will provide communities with funding to assess, clean up and redevelop underutilized properties while protecting public health and the environment.
“We have a proven track record that demonstrates our commitment to use EPA funds as they were intended,” said Ms. Upshur. “I believe our prior accomplishments reflect our dedication and have helped to strengthen our ability to receive more grant money. This funding will allow us to continue reinventing Lynchburg’s image by reutilizing abandoned and deteriorating properties in the heart of the City.”
To learn more about the Economic Development Authority’s “Fields of Opportunity program, please visit http://www.opportunitylynchburg.com/brownfields/.
Link to the EPA’s announcement and complete list of awards: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/administrator-pruitt-announces-543-million-brownfield-grants-assess-and-clean.
About the Economic Development Authority of the City of Lynchburg
The Lynchburg Economic Development Authority is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia and serves as the incentive arm of the City of Lynchburg. Lynchburg’s EDA takes an active role in economic development efforts, actively pursuing investment and development opportunities, and elevating the economic development profile of the City. Learn more at www.opportunitylynchburg.com.