TJCOG Receives $500,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant for Underutilized Sites

Triangle J Council of Governments and the Regional Brownfields Consortium received big news this month when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the organization would be awarded its first-ever Brownfields Grant - a  $500,000 Community-Wide Assessment Grant to inventory, characterize, assess, conduct planning activities, develop site-specific clean-up plans, and engage community stakeholders on brownfields sites located in historic or high growth areas of the towns of Fuquay-Varina and Wake Forest.
 
Both communities have been members of TJCOG’s Regional Brownfields Consortium since 2018 and view brownfields redevelopment as a critical tool for the economic and environmental success of their historic downtowns and underutilized properties. The grant will be instrumental in identifying viable development uses for the previously identified target sites that have been hindered by the impact of their previous uses - dry cleaners, car dealerships, gas stations, and industrial warehouses. Site redevelopment will help reduce barriers to local employment and services, spur economic activity, reduce sprawl and infrastructure demands, and address contamination issues.
 
The Triangle region, like many other areas of the state, has a large presence of brownfield properties, often derived from former textile mills, industrial resources, or abandoned and idled commercial properties, that affect the economic growth of communities.
 
“We are so thankful for EPA’s confidence in investing in Triangle J, Fuquay-Varina, and Wake Forest", remarked TJCOG Executive Director Lee Worsley. "Although parts of our region are experiencing immense economic growth, there are many Census tracts and surrounding areas that remain heavily underinvested in which causes an enormous amount of missed economic opportunity and infrastructure for our most marginalized populations. EPA’s investment will help properties contribute to the local tax base and will catalyze greater economic investment and resources for surrounding neighborhoods.”
 
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2022-2023 EPA Brownfields Program Cycle
 
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic investment in EPA’s Brownfields program, injecting $1.5 billion dollars of additional funds. The 2022 to 2023 cycle, due November 2022 and with projects awarded in summer 2023, will offer up to $10 million for an assessment grant award, and up to $5 million for a cleanup grant award, and up to $1 million for a job training program that supports revitalization at a brownfields site.
 
Local governments that need TJCOG’s support on an application can reach out to Lindsay Whitson at lwhitson@tjcog.org to learn about assistance options.