BrownfieldsThursday it was announced that the Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG), along with coalition partners Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties, was selected to receive $600,000 in funding for a regional Brownfield Assessment Coalition Grant to address potentially contaminated properties.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and the White House Executive Director for the Opportunity and Revitalization Council Scott Turner shared that a total of 149 communities were selected to receive 151 grant awards totaling $64.6 million in EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs.

Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfield Program provide communities with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes while taking advantage of existing infrastructure.

“MACOG looks forward to building on the brownfield revitalization experience of several of our communities. Our Coalition will focus on areas in the region that are most impacted by former industrial facilities, old gas stations, and blighted properties which are often tax delinquent and may pose risks to nearby residents,” said MACOG Executive Director James Turnwald. “This funding is critical for addressing the environmental uncertainty surrounding potentially contaminated properties to get them back on the tax rolls and open them up for redevelopment to promote the efficient use of existing infrastructure, strengthen our downtown cores and community gateways, and reduce development pressure on farmland and greenspace.”

The Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant awarded to MACOG targets areas in each coalition partner county, including the gateway between the City of Warsaw and the Town of Winona Lake, west of downtown Plymouth, downtown neighborhoods in the City of Elkhart, and sites impacting small towns across the region such as the Town of Lakeville. Funds will be used to conduct Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments on sites that may be contaminated with hazardous substances, pollutants, or petroleum, with at least one priority site in each county. Grant funds also will be used to inventory and prioritize sites, prepare cleanup plans, develop a multi-site reuse plan for the City of Plymouth, prepare site-specific reuse plans, and to conduct community outreach activities.