SOUTH BEND — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that the Michiana Area Council of Governments will be one of 10 Indiana recipients to receive a total of $9.4 million in funding to assess or clean up brownfield sites or to support revolving loan funds.
EPA officials joined with state and local officials at a brownfields redevelopment site in Lebanon to make the announcement.
MACOG will receive a $500,000 grant to conduct 18 Phase I and up to 13 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop four site-specific cleanup plans and four reuse plans and conduct community engagement activities. The target areas are Elkhart and South Bend. Priority sites include the Oil Express, which was a former coal, lumber, auto yard and a bulk oil storage facility in South Bend and the Roundhouse, a former locomotive repair facility in Elkhart.
“MACOG is excited to continue leveraging EPA funding to put underutilized sites back to productive use by reducing environmental barriers, ultimately facilitating more workforce housing and addressing our regional economic development priorities,” said James Turnwald, executive director of MACOG.
The grants are supported by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a total of $1.5 billion to advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization and create jobs through brownfield projects. These can range from cleaning up buildings with asbestos or lead contamination, to assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties that once managed dangerous chemicals.
Once cleaned up, former brownfield properties can be redeveloped into productive uses such as grocery stores, affordable housing, health centers, museums, parks and solar farms. The Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. Approximately 86 percent of the communities nationwide selected to receive funding as part of today’s announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.
Along with $1.6 million from Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations, $7.8 million from the historic $1.5 billion investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will go toward helping turn brownfield sites in Indiana into hubs of economic growth and job creation, .
Read more about the grant awards at www.epa.gov/brownfields.To learn more about upcoming events in the MACOG region and submit sites of interest for brownfields funding, visit www.macog.com/brownfields.html.