By Freddy Arck | Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division
The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Colorado communities $2.4 million to assess, clean up and redevelop contaminated properties. These new grants, awarded through the Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup grant competition, will help communities boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment. In Colorado, grants were awarded to seven communities:
- Trinidad: $500,000 to inventory and assess Brownfields properties in the city of Trinidad, the town of Aguilar and Las Animas County.
- Fort Collins: $500,000 to conduct environmental assessments in the Poudre River/North College Innovation District.
- Adams County: $200,000 to inventory and conduct environmental assessments on properties focused in a 2-mile corridor in the Clear Creek Valley.
- Lower Willow Creek Restoration Co.: $200,000 to clean up mine-scarred land in Creede.
- Northglenn: $400,000 to assess the West 104th commercial district.
- Kiowa County: $200,000 to clean up a former hotel building in downtown Eads.
- Denver: $400,000 to assess properties that will assist in implementing the South Platte Corridor Study.
“We are excited Colorado has been so successful in receiving these grants,” said Doug Jamison, unit leader for the Brownfields Program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “We look forward to partnering with EPA and the grant recipients to help them achieve their redevelopment goals.”
In Creede, the $200,000 EPA grant will allow the Lower Willow Creek Restoration Company to reclaim the Lower Willow Creek floodplain from historic mining activities. The project is a collaboration between the city of Creede, the Willow Creek Reclamation Committee and Creede Resources Inc. In 2011, the project entered into a Voluntary Cleanup Plan with the state to provide regulatory oversight during cleanup and reclamation activities.
“We rely on tourism in Creede, and Willow Creek is the gateway to our community,” said Guinevere Nelson, watershed director for the Willow Creek Reclamation Committee. “Being able to complete this project will allow us to attract more people to our community while respecting our mining heritage.”
The project plan is to restore the physical, chemical, biological and aesthetic qualities of the floodplain as an integral part of the Creede community, resulting in passive open space and recreational opportunities for visitors and residents of Creede.
EPA awarded a total of $54.3 million in Brownfields funds nationwide. $4.8 million went to 15 entities in Colorado’s region, Region 8.
The Brownfields/Voluntary Cleanup Program in the department writes letters of support and provides technical assistance to local governments that apply for the grants. The program also provides resources to facilitate cleanup of abandoned, potentially contaminated public and private property. These include environmental assessments and information on tax credits and low-interest loans for property owners. Since its inception in 1994, the program has facilitated more than 500 successful site transformations. For more information on the Brownfields Program, visit its Web page