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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The City of Springfield was officially recognized today by EPA Region 7 for its successful 17-year history of redevelopment of formerly polluted properties. Since 1999, using a little more than $7 million in EPA Brownfields grants and technical assistance, the city has leveraged more than $460 million in public and private investments toward the revitalization of former brownfields, with more projects underway.
EPA Region 7 Administrator Mark Hague praised Springfield’s elected leaders and city staff for their work with EPA, other federal and state government agencies, community businesses, developers, universities, non-profit groups and volunteers, compiling an impressive track record of turning brownfield properties back to productive use for the community.
“Springfield is a stellar example of how a community can make smart and effective use of EPA Brownfields assistance to literally transform its landscape,” Hague said. “The city has shown how small, targeted investments can provide momentum for environmental improvement and economic growth.”
Since Springfield began its local Brownfields program in 1999, the city has applied for and received 17 separate EPA Brownfields grants, totaling $6.3 million, along with non-cash technical assistance valued at more than $800,000, for a total of $7.1 million in support from the agency.
Significantly, Springfield has successfully competed for funding and assistance in each of the four major grant categories that the EPA Brownfields Program offers: funding for environmental property assessments, money to establish revolving loan funds, grants for cleanup of hazardous wastes and petroleum, and as of just last month, an EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grant to the city’s Missouri Job Center to recruit, train and place local workers into the kinds of green environmental jobs that brownfields projects typically require.
To date, Springfield has used EPA Brownfields assistance to conduct more than 260 environmental property assessments, on projects large and small. Fully 70 percent of those assessments indicated a need for further environmental cleanup. Redevelopment has already occurred on more than 100 of those assessed properties, and other projects are underway.
“When you see how $7 million in EPA Brownfields assistance has already helped spur $460 million in additional investments in the city, we can all see the value in targeted EPA assistance leveraging other public and private investments,” Hague said.
Springfield’s portfolio of Brownfields projects includes the Jordan Valley Park; Hammons Field—home of the Springfield Cardinals; the History Museum on the Square; the Aspen Springfield housing project, the Roy Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center; the Butler, Rosenbury & Partners architecture firm’s offices; the reclamation of the West Meadows former rail yard; the Missouri Highway Patrol Crime Lab; Jordan Valley Community Health Center; numerous affordable housing developments, and no fewer than 18 businesses or properties along or near a 10-block section of the Commercial Street Historic District, among many others.
One of those businesses, the White River Brewing Company, at 505 W. Commercial Street, hosted a visit today by Hague and other EPA officials. The microbrewery occupies the site of a former feed mill and coal yard, in a structure built in 1924 that saw use as a peanut butter plant, automotive repair shop, filling station, and metal fabrication business. In 2007, John “Buz” Hosfield bought the vacant building, and in 2012, after environmental site assessment, cleanup and renovation, it opened as a microbrewery. As a former brownfield, the project benefitted directly from EPA-funded Phase I and Phase II environmental assessments, and from EPA-provided Sustainable Design and Adaptive Reuse technical assistance.
“Resources like these from EPA’s Brownfields Program will contribute to the long-term success of the partnership that the City of Springfield, Greene County and City Utilities have forged to develop the Integrated Plan for the Environment,” Hague said. “This plan’s citizen-focused approach toward assessing and prioritizing environmental resources and requirements is endorsed by EPA, and will build an even better, stronger, and more sustainable community.”
For more information, contact : Chris Whitley, EPA, at 913-551-7394 or [email protected] or Cora Scott, City of Springfield, at 417-864-1009, [email protected]
• Learn about EPA’s brownfields program.• Learn about Springfield's brownfields program.• Learn about EPA Region 7.