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EPA to invest $1.4 million for redevelopment of abandoned sites

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that Southwestern Pennsylvania will receive $1.4 million in investments to assess abandoned industrial properties for potential redevelopment.

North Side Industrial Development Company in Pittsburgh and Washington County Redevelopment Authority will receive EPA brownfields grants to help transform vacant and contaminated lands into safe, healthy, and economically viable properties.

EPA Press Chief Roy Seneca says his agency looks upon brownfields grants as investments in communities. "These brownfields initiatives really demonstrate how environmental protection and economic development go hand-in-hand," he says, "to strengthen communities and help rebuild the economy in struggling areas."

The North Side Industrial Development Company partners with 20 other coalition members, including 19 municipalities along the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh.

In communities where heavy industry and mining practices once dominated the economy, potentially hazardous waste will remain in the landscape. "A lot of this money [from the EPA brownfields grants] will be used to assess these properties," Seneca says. Once cleaned, buildings can be reused using creative and green techniques, and community parks can be developed, among other options.

The South Side Works is perhaps one of the most notable examples of a local brownfield reuse. The 123-acre former LTV Steel site was cleaned and transformed into a mixed-use development following the city's purchase of the property in 1993.

Seneca says the EPA tries to award grants in communities where there is a need. "A lot of times they'll go to communities where there's distress and some poverty," he says. "Where they can really make a difference with these funds."

Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Roy Seneca, EPA
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