ArticleType: St. Pete News
U.S. Rep. Castor announces Brownfields grant funding for South St. Pete’s Business District
St. Pete one of only 5 FL communities nationwide to receive EPA grants
Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor announced that the City of St. Petersburg is recipient of two EPA Brownfields Assessment Grants totaling $400,000 to address several Brownfield sites within the Southside Community Redevelopment Area (CRA).
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields grants will boost jobs and business opportunities in South St. Petersburg by cleaning up properties that need it through environmental remediation," said U.S. Rep. Castor, who championed the federal grants. “Redevelopment in South St. Petersburg will open up all sorts of economic opportunities in neighborhoods where new jobs are needed most."
These grants will go towards conducting 20 environmental assessments and support cleanup planning at eight sites. St. Petersburg is one of only five communities nationwide to receive this grant funding.
“We are very pleased to receive this competitively awarded grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,’ St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said. “My Administration will concentrate the investment of these funds in the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area, to add to the community development tools we have already established with the goals of increasing investment, supporting job creation and entrepreneurship, focusing on workforce training and development, while eradicating blight and environmental hazards for our residents.”
More investment in Brownfield properties were a recommendation from U.S. Rep. Castor’s series of environmental justice roundtable discussions held last year with local advocates and leaders to gather input as the EPA updated its programs, policies and activities related to advancing environmental justice in Tampa Bay and throughout the country.
“Environmental Justice ensures all communities, families and individuals enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards,” U.S. Rep. Castor said.
A Brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the United States. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped, open land, and both improves and protects the environment.
“Tampa Bay is a region with a strong track record of turning Brownfield sites into jobs and I will continue to work to secure federal investments to redevelop these and lift communities, "U.S. Rep. Castor said. “In Hillsborough County, Tampa Family Health Centers put Brownfield redevelopment dollars to work, including a site in East Tampa that became a national model. The Encore development is another Brownfield success story.”
Communities use EPA's Brownfields grants to leverage public-private investments, spurring the redevelopment of vacant, former manufacturing and commercial sites for broader revitalization in their downtowns. This results in a transformed economy and environment while addressing poverty and economic distress. Since the inception of the EPA’s Brownfields Program in 1995, cumulative brownfield program investments have leveraged more than $20 billion from a variety of public and private sources for cleanup and redevelopment activities. This equates to an average of $17.79 leveraged per EPA brownfield dollar expended. These investments have resulted in approximately more than approximately 108,000 jobs nationwide. EPA’s Brownfields Program empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields sites.
Marcia Mejia, Communications Director
Office of Congresswoman Kathy Castor