To help encourage development of potentially contaminated real estate, the City of Richmond is getting some green from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Richmond on Thursday received two grants from the EPA’s Brownfields program totaling $400,000. The awards, which are used to survey sites with a risk of past contamination for future development, have previously funded studies for the Main Street Station, the Hippodrome and the Canyon Creek Greenway in Richmond.
Although the latest round of money has not been tabbed for any specific site, Lee Downey, director of the Richmond Department of Economic and Community Development, said the Boulevard, East End, Jefferson Davis Highway and Commerce Road corridors and the Reynolds South plant are potential sites for survey.
“The city is really challenged in economic development,” Downey said. “We are a mature urban environment. We don’t have the untouched green fields that a lot of suburban areas have.”
The awards announced Thursday include $200,000 to assess properties for hazardous substances and another $200,000 to assess properties that might be contaminated with petroleum products.
The EPA funds the awards and reviews applications for grant eligibility. Richmond’s two awards were the only grants given statewide for 2013. The city has received six Brownfields grants totaling $1.4 million since the program’s inception in 1994.
“We do not give these grant monies out to people that are unsuccessful,” EPA regional administrator Shawn Garvin said.