The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Chattanooga $4.9 million in funding to address brownfields in the city, helping turn brownfields into productive economic opportunities.
The funds consist of two grants of $500,000 – one for analysis, one for cleanup – and $3.9 million for the Chattanooga Revolving Loan Fund, which provides low-interest loans for the cleaning up industrial wastelands.
The funding will help revitalize polluted properties throughout the city, many of which were once industrial sites that contributed to Chattanooga’s reputation in the 1960s as “the dirtiest town in America,” and restore them to productive use to create homes and jobs.
“It’s costly and time-consuming to fix the mistakes of the past that have rendered parts of our city virtually unusable, but with tremendous support from the EPA, I’m confident we can work to turn more of these horrors into healthy properties that generate economic growth for our community,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly.
The $500,000 assessment grant will be used to develop a brownfield inventory and conduct environmental assessments, which will help determine remediation needs based on planned redevelopment. Priority sites for funding include the RL Stowe mercerization plant, the US Pipe and Wheland Foundry site and a 9.7-acre former quarry.
The $500,000 cleanup grant will be used to clean up the abandoned rail corridor – the site of a future greenway – at 3225 Broad Street, and to support community engagement activities, such as community meetings, to obtain feedback on cleaning work plans.
The $4.9 million is backed by President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which provides a total of $1.5 billion to advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization and create jobs by cleaning up brownfields. contaminated, polluted or hazardous industries.