Oakland County was awarded a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that will help local communities assess and clean up brownfield sites for future economic development.
The EPA Brownfield Assessment Coalition Grant are awarded to communities deemed underserved and economically disadvantaged, including neighborhoods where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed. The county partnered with Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Pontiac and Southfield in seeking the grant. Each of the six cities will receive $60,000, with the remaining $240,000 for use throughout the county.
“These grants provide our communities with an important infusion of capital that ultimately turns distressed property into useful businesses and jobs that benefit our residents, businesses and our economy,” County Executive David Coulter said. “I know first-hand from my time as mayor of Ferndale and the development of the Iron Ridge District the real impact these grants can provide.”
The Iron Ridge District, which borders Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge near Interstate 696, has turned a cluster of aging buildings into a brownfield redevelopment site that will become entertainment and retail destination.
It is the fourth time the county has received the grant since 2009. The previous three grants totaled $2.2 million and resulted in 341 projects with a proposed overall investment of $1.6 billion and employment estimated at more than 6,500 full-time jobs.
Local developments that have benefited from previous brownfield grants include:
- The Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts in Pontiac ($24 million investment)
- Emagine Royal Oak Theatre ($14 million investment)
- 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 5 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.