(New York, N.Y. – May 31, 2017) The Municipality of Cataño, Puerto Rico, was among 172 communities across the country selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today to receive funding for brownfield site revitalization to help local governments redevelop vacant and unused properties, transforming communities and local economies.
“EPA is committed to working with communities to redevelop Brownfields sites which have plagued their neighborhoods. EPA’s Assessment and Cleanup grants target communities that are economically disadvantaged and include places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These grants leverage considerable infrastructure and other investments, improving local economies and creating an environment where jobs can grow. I am very pleased the President’s budget recognizes the importance of these grants by providing continued funding for this important program.”
The Municipality of Cataño will use the EPA grant to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct planning and community involvement related to the municipality’s brownfield sites. Revitalization plans include reusing the properties for affordable housing developments, commercial or community uses, or open and natural spaces. The municipality will also develop its 2.2-mile waterfront into a recreational area and encourage alternative and innovative stormwater management practices to reduce stormwater runoff. This grant will support the effort to promote economic benefit in the targeted communities by enhancing property values, restoring ecologically sensitive areas and creating jobs.
Studies have shown that residential property values near brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between 5% and more than 15%. and can increase property values within 1.24 miles of that site. A study analyzing data near 48 brownfield sites shows that an estimated $29 to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to those brownfields.
As of May 2017, more than 124,759 jobs and $24 billion of public and private funding has been leveraged across the country as a result of assessment grants and other EPA Brownfields grants. On average, $16.11 was leveraged for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 8.5 jobs leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.