New $3.9 million Federal grant will aid state efforts to clean up contaminated sites

Environmental Protection Agency funding seeks to address economic, social and environmental challenges caused by contaminated land

Olympia, Wash. – Washington state’s Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund (BRLF) recently received a $3.9-million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assist clean up and redevelopment projects on “brownfield” sites statewide. A brownfield is property commonly used for industrial purposes, such as former gas stations or dry cleaners, which are polluted and require environmental revitalization so that they be redeveloped.

This grant is part of a historic $1.5 billion nationwide investment to aid brownfield site redevelopment. The federal program provides states capital needed to revitalize viable brownfield sites and spur environmental and economic renewal with a focus on disadvantaged communities.

Rendering of Rainier Court Phase IV mixed use development in Mt. Baker neighborhood of Seattle

Southeast Effective Development (SEED) launched Phase IV of their Rainier Court Redevelopment in September 2016. Using over $2 million from the Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund, SEED cleaned up the site which had a history of industrial use, paint storage, vehicle salvage and maintenance and illegal garbage dumping. The mixed-use property on Rainer Ave. in Seattle’s Mt. Baker neighborhood is near Link light rail and provides 81 units of affordable senior apartments along with over 2,600 square feet of commercial space.

Potential projects can submit applications for funding in the next 12 to 24 months. Historically, 80% of BRLF investments have demonstrated positive outcomes in disadvantaged and underserved communities where site clean-up created environmentally sustainable places and jobs.

“This funding leads with environmental justice principles and provides a great opportunity to redevelop contaminated sites for community benefit and economic activity” said Washington Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Communities with a brownfield site can accelerate their journey to sustainability with these critical federal resources.”

Since 2000, the Washington State Department of Commerce has successfully managed the BRLF in close partnership with the Washington State Department of Ecology and EPA Region 10. To-date, the program has cleaned up 15 projects spanning 91 acres through investments of nearly $11 million that in turn have leveraged more than $8 million in other resources. Ultimately, these projects have generated more than 1,600 housing units, 730,000 square feet of commercial space, and one million square feet of greenspace while leveraging almost $900 million in downstream redevelopment investment. Nearly 1,700 temporary and permanent jobs resulted at sites made ready for reuse by BRLF investments.


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