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EPA Celebrates Historic Brownfields Investments with Greater Pittsburgh Area Grantees

12 Oct 2023 3:39 PM | Michael Lazo (Administrator)

October 12, 2023

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PITTSBURGH (October 12, 2023) - Following a May announcement that over $14 million in Brownfields funding was being awarded in Pennsylvania, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz joined local environmental and community leaders in Pittsburgh today to celebrate the historic investment.

Awarded through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup (MARC) Grant Program, the North Side Industrial Development Company (NSIDC) and the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh (YPA) will collectively invest $1 million in the Greater Pittsburgh area to conduct 30 Phase I and 23 Phase II environmental site assessments, prepare seven cleanup plans, and conduct community outreach and engagement activities that will help transform sites back into safe and productive reuse.

“EPA’s Brownfields grants have transformed neighborhoods across the country, and thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Allegheny County is seeing more money than ever invested in assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “These assessment grants are often the first step towards cleaner, greener, and safer spaces and EPA is proud to play a role in that.”

Announced at a site on Perrysville Avenue in the Perry Hilltop Neighborhood of the City, EPA joined leaders from NSIDC and YPA, along with city, county, and local stakeholders to celebrate this investment and look towards the future. The site, while presently vacant, is expected to one day be a community center and day care. As part of the Urban Development Authority’s Avenues of Hope program, Perrysville Avenue will also leverage federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars to transform the corridor into a vibrant, safe, diverse, and culture-rich hub.

"Our team at NSIDC is very excited to continue our economic development work utilizing this $500,000 EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant throughout the Pittsburgh region. It's these types of investments from the Federal Government that allows forgotten communities to be a part of equitable growth of the economy,"  said Juan Garrett, Executive Director, North Side Industrial Development Company.

As part of President’s Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to grow the American economy from the bottom up and middle out – EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity and environmental reutilization in historically overburdened communities.

“Young Preservationists Association (YPA) is honored to stand with EPA as a conduit of these resources that will be of service to so many. Our sincerest thanks go to the Mayor of McKeesport, Mike Cherepko, and his team for their partnering with us on this important work and for their belief in our mission of economic development through historic preservation. In addition to our thanks to the EPA we would also like to thank our Board of Directors and the Allegheny Foundation for their kind and generous support," said Matthew Craig, Executive Director of the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh.

"This monumental investment by the EPA in the Greater Pittsburgh area underscores the importance of collective action, converging government and community organizations, to revitalize and repurpose our brownfield sites. As we witness these funds coming into our communities, we are not just seeing the physical transformation of neglected spaces, but also sewing the seeds of opportunity, sustainability, and environmental justice into the very fabric of our neighborhoods. It is crucial that we continue to channel our energies and resources into initiatives like the MARC Grant Program, ensuring that all communities, especially those that have borne the brunt of economic and environmental disparities, are given the chance to flourish. The collaborative work we engage in today is paving the way for a greener, more equitable tomorrow for the people of Western Pennsylvania,” said U.S. Congresswoman Summer Lee.

Many communities that are under economic stress, particularly those located in areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment, lack the resources needed to initiate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects. As brownfield sites are transformed into community assets, they attract jobs, promote economic revitalization and transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.

“The EPA Brownfields Program is a great example of what happens when government and non-profits work together to provide economic re-birth to neighborhoods and communities that have long been neglected. Thanks to the Biden Administration, who believe that stabilization and expansion of communities take place from the bottom up and middle out this initiative is possible. I can’t wait to see what develops through the initial investment by the North Side Industrial Develop Company (NSIDC) and Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh (YAA). Through reclaiming land and putting it to good use, we reclaim neighborhoods and residents,” said Mayor of Pittsburgh Ed Gainey.  

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