Oakland County has been awarded a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that will help local communities assess and clean up brownfields sites for future economic development.
The Assessment, Revolving Loan and Cleanup grants are awarded to communities deemed underserved and economically disadvantaged, including neighborhoods where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed. The grant is among more than $55 million awarded to 131 communities across the United States.
“This certainly is a big step for Oakland County,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Unfortunately there are a number of brownfields sites that should have been cleaned up a long time ago. This continues the momentum we’ve begun in developing these sites.”
The county partnered with Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Pontiac and Southfield as well as PM Environmental in seeking the grant. It is the fifth time the county was awarded an assessment grant, which totals $2.85 million, said Bradley Hansen, a business development representative who administers the county brownfields program.
Local developments that have benefited from previous brownfields grants include the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts in Pontiac ($24 million investment); Emagine Royal Oak Theatre ($14 million investment); and Motor City Harley-Davidson in Farmington Hills ($6 million investment). The funds are expected to last for about three years.
Residential property values near brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between five and 15 percent and overall property values increase within a one-mile radius, the federal government said. There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in the United States.?