NJEDA gets $800K EPA grant for brownfield site redevelopment

The New Jersey Economic Development Association announced on Wednesday it will receive a $800,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to support brownfield remediation in New Jersey.

The Revolving Loan Fund Brownfields grant will be used to provide sub-award grants to communities, developers and nonprofits carrying out cleanup and redevelopment activities at brownfield sites.

“Supporting communities as they work to clean up and revitalize contaminated properties is crucial for creating vibrant cities and neighborhoods and stimulating economic growth,” Tim Sullivan, CEO of the NJEDA, said. “EPA RLF funding will allow us to provide more comprehensive and effective support for communities and organizations working to return contaminated properties to productive use. This is always valuable, but it will have a particularly significant impact now, when resources are stretched thin everywhere due to COVID-19.”

To facilitate brownfield redevelopments, Gov. Phil Murphy proposed a set of programs, including tax credits for remediation and redevelopment, as well as the creation of an enhanced brownfields loan program through the EDA.

In addition to Murphy’s proposed programs, the EDA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection established the Community Collaborative Initiative in March 2019. The program embeds NJDEP staff in targeted communities to help them navigate environmental issues. The CCI currently operates in 12 communities: Bayonne, Camden, Perth Amboy, Trenton, Bridgeton, Jersey City, Millville, Newark, Paterson, Paulsboro, Salem City and Vineland.

The RLF program will focus on the 12 communities the CCI currently operates, which have high instances of brownfields, poverty, health disparity and revitalization needs.

“Economic development and environmental protection go hand in hand,” NJDEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “This grant award will spark community revitalization, strengthening our communities and our ecosystems at the same time. New Jersey’s Community Collaborative Initiative, which started in Camden, is a valuable example of how funding redevelopment creates economic activity and I’m pleased that the DEP and NJEDA can replicate that model in cities throughout the state.”

The EPA said it also awarded grants of $500,000 to both Camden and Jersey City, and a $299,451 grant the nonprofit Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. In total, the agency has provided nearly $2.1 million in loans.