Springfield is being recognized for effectively cleaning and redeveloping previously polluted land through the EPA’s Brownfields program.
The city has received $7 million in grants and assistance from the EPA over a 17 year period. That has gone to influence developments that are now worth more than 20 times that initial investment.
“Seven million in seed has helped $460 million in projects grow,” spokesman for EPA Region 7, Chris Whitley, states.
Brownfields tend to have issues such as pollution or hazardous waste that deter developers from investing.
However, Whitley says Springfield provided momentum to get the projects off the ground along with other influences.
“There has been a very smart and dedicated city brownfield staff that works on these issues. There’s also been a good recipe of political leadership, of business leadership, and entrepreneurs that are eager to get involved in these types of projects,” Whitley states.
Places such as Hammons field, Jordan Valley Park, and at least 18 properties along Commercial Street are brownfield projects that were developed in part from the contributions of the program.
“There are more than 100 projects that have been completed in the city, so far, using this type of assistance since 1999,” Whitley adds.
According to Whitley, there are more brownfield projects that are coming soon. He said it was time to recognize the city for all that it has accomplished.
“This is by no means the end of it. It’s just a good point to pause and look back and see what an incredible record the city of Springfield has complied by turning brownfields green again,” Whitley says.
According to the city, the 17 separate EPA Brownfields grants received total $6.3 million. That, combined with non-cash technical assistance valued at more than $800,000, values support from the agency at $7.1 million.