EPA Brownfields Initiative
EPA's Brownfields Program empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. A brownfield site is real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. On January 11, 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act. Under the Brownfields Law, EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through four competitive grant programs: assessment grants, revolving loan fund grants, cleanup grants, and job training grants. Additionally, funding support is provided to state and tribal response programs through a separate mechanism.
Date of Announcement: May 2000
$50,000 for Greenspace
Profile: The Pilot will assess contamination and plan the redevelopment of numerous properties around the Gary Airport, including an abandoned sand mine site. The city will develop a plan for resource conservation and a recreation area on a portion of the site. Gary, IN mill sites. As the steel industry has declined, so has the city.
EPA has selected the City of Gary for a Brownfields Pilot. Gary was also selected to receive additional funding for assessments at Brownfields properties to be used for greenspace purposes. A former industrial center, Gary contains many abandoned factory and mill sites. As the steel industry has declined, so has the city. The workforce in Gary dropped from more than 20,000 in the 1970s to 6,000 in the 1990s, as the population decreased by 40 percent. In 1998, the unemployment rate was 7.1 percent, more than twice that of the rest of Indiana. The population is 89 percent minority, with approximately 25 percent of the residents living below the poverty line.
The city successfully partnered with East Chicago and Hammond, Indiana, for federal Empowerment Zone designation in 1999. There has been extensive public involvement on development related issues, with meetings being held both to solicit input and to educate community members.
The goal of the Pilot is to work with the city's partners to identify, assess, and redevelop local brownfields within a 200-acre area now owned by the city, in the area around the Gary Airport. The site is at the center of a proposed light industrial and commercial complex. The redevelopment process will create jobs, provide training opportunities for local residents, and establish safe and productive industries. The redevelopment process also will facilitate an infusion of tax revenue to the city, further improving the quality of life for residents.
The City of Gary will use greenspace funding to conduct environmental assessments of the southern portion of an 80-acre former sand mine called the J-Pit. Potential sources of contamination include byproducts of illegal dumping and surrounding junkyards. The proposed restoration plan for the pit is to fill it with groundwater to form a lake. The banks of the new lake would be restored through plantings and construction of wetlands, and a trail would be constructed around the lake, which would connect to a new city park adjacent to the site.
Activities planned as part of this Pilot include:
- Conducting Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments;
- Developing cleanup and redevelopment plans for identified site reuse;
- Identifying financial and other resources necessary to fund cleanup scenarios;
- Identifying funding strategies for redevelopment;
- Developing redevelopment plans for the J-Pit project that incorporate natural resource preservation and enhancement with economic redevelopment; and
- Conducting outreach activities to encourage community participation.
For further information, including specific grant contacts, additional grant information, brownfields news and events, and publications and links, visit the EPA Brownfields Web site (http://www.epa.gov/brownfields).
EPA Region 5 Brownfields Team
EPA Region 5 Brownfields Web site (http://www.epa.gov/R5Brownfields)
Grant Recipient: City of Gary, IN
The information presented in this fact sheet comes from the grant proposal; EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of this information. The cooperative agreement for the grant has not yet been negotiated. Therefore, activities described in this fact sheet are subject to change.