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BDC getting $400K from EPA to rid brownfields of contamination

A total of $400,000 in grants is headed to the Baltimore Development Corp. from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help identify and assess brownfield sites in the city that may need to be cleaned up before redevelopment.

The agency is providing two separate grants — one for $200,000 to focus on hazardous sites and another for $200,000 for sites with petroleum contamination. The awards are scheduled to be announced Monday.

“EPA’s brownfields funding is an important catalyst for urban revitalization, and EPA is proud to be a longstanding partner in Baltimore’s brownfields efforts to transform vacant properties back to beneficial use,” Shawn M. Garvin, EPA’s regional administrator, said in a statement. “We are pleased to support positive efforts like this to build healthy and vibrant communities.”

The EPA has awarded the city a total of $1.6 million in brownfields grants since 1995 to help identify sites for cleanup.

City officials said the latest round of funding will support the designated Main Street Districts, where ongoing projects to redevelop vacant and abandoned properties for new housing and business locations have been a priority in various communities for the past five years.

The grants were scheduled to be announced at a newly redeveloped project at 1111 Light St. in South Baltimore, a former one-acre brownfield site. There, across the street from Cross Street Market, apartments and office space are now available as part of a $35 million turnaround by Caves Valley Partners.

“[The] grants from EPA provide vital resources to improve the health and safety of Baltimore’s communities,” Sen. Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement. “The cleanup and redevelopment of local brownfields will help to create jobs, spur economic growth and improve the local environment, making Baltimore a cleaner, healthier place to live and work.”