On June 5, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that 149 communities across America including Calumet County, Sheboygan County, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, and Oshkosh have been selected to receive funding for brownfield site revitalization to help local governments redevelop vacant and unused properties, transforming communities and local economies.
“Many communities are ready to move forward with redevelopment, they just lack the funding to get started,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp. “Our Brownfields grants can jump-start the process and provide much-needed support to begin the assessment and cleanup process.”
Calumet County’s $300,000 grant will investigate environmental conditions at properties targeted for redevelopment. The county intends to focus its work on properties in Chilton, New Holstein, and Brillion. Plans for the sites assessed include developing new, sustainable manufacturing companies; supporting existing manufacturing by developing new, affordable housing; and expanding retail opportunities in the county’s cities and towns.
“Calumet County is very pleased to receive our first Communitywide Brownfield Assessment Grant, and we appreciate EPA’s recognition of the importance we place on cleaning up contaminated properties by awarding us this grant,” said County Administrator Todd Romenesko. “This project will support work within the county to identify and clean up contaminated properties. These efforts are consistent with the needs of our local community partners, will enhance our local economy, and will help facilitate critical quality of life improvements in impacted areas.”
Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfield Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. For example, Brownfields grants have been shown to:
- Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.
- Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfields sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.
To read the EPA news release regarding this grant, please visit https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-announces-selection-3-wisconsin-communities-receive-14-million-funding-brownfields.