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EPA Awards Grant Funds to Evaluate “Brownfields” in Lincolnton, NC
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it is awarding a $300,000 grant to the City of Lincolnton to be used to help restore deserted properties to use. Lincolnton is one of only 144 communities nation-wide awarded grant funding on April 25, 2018.
The EPA grant will be used to assess “brownfield” properties – properties that may be contaminated with hazardous substance, pollutant or contamination due to past industrial or commercial use.
“Lincolnton is excited to receive the maximum award the EPA has granted to a community for this funding,” said Laura Elam, director of planning for the City of Lincolnton. “The funds will help us continue the momentum of rehabilitating historic structures and properties in the city by assessing their environmental needs, which is the first step of returning empty textile mills and manufacturing sites to productive re-use.”
Examples of brownfields are abandoned gas stations, old textile mills, industrial plants, former dry cleaners, and other abandoned industrial or commercial properties. The assessment may determine a property is safe to use or it may determine what issues need to be addressed first.
Lincolnton was awarded two grants; $150,000 for evaluation of properties for hazardous substances and $150,000 to evaluate properties for underground gas tanks and other petroleum products. Both grant awards will also be used to develop cleanup plans, complete endangered species surveys and cultural resource surveys, and support community involvement activities.
The EPA’s Brownfields Program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 brownfields sites, targeting local, under served and economically disadvantages neighborhoods, places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed.
Lincolnton’s industrial history of forges and furnaces for the ironworks industry was followed by saw mills, grist mills, tanneries, paper mills, potteries and textile mills. The geographic location of Lincolnton, which sits on the Catawba River, and the presence of two rail lines, made it an ideal location for these former industries. With the decline of this industrial past, economic growth and development stalled. The past several years has seen a resurgence of “life” within the city with an emerging downtown revitalization and renewed interest in re-purposing abandoned properties. The city is taking the necessary steps to continue this trend and support the rehabilitation of these properties by making them “project ready”. Capitalizing on its location within the center of the state, on the banks of the Catawba River, with close proximity to rail lines and easy access to Charlotte, this community-wide brownfields grant will be used to clarify, assess and formulate environmental mitigation plans for multiple re-development sites and structures.