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Northampton County Receives Federal Brownfield Redevelopment Funding

By Colin McEvoy on July 27, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that Northampton County will receive $375,000 in additional federal funding for use in the redevelopment of brownfield properties in Lehigh Valley.

“Cleaning up a brownfield isn’t just important for public health,” said Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure.

“Revitalizing properties allows them to be redeveloped, providing a boost to the local economy,” McClure said. “The improvements made possible by the $375,000 EPA grant will increase not only property values but tax revenue as well.”

The new funding comes from the Brownfields Revolving Loan Funding (RLF), and supplements a separate $650,000 provided to Northampton County in 2012, bringing the total RLF funding the county has received to $1.3 million.

“EPA is proud to provide brownfields funding which gives a much-needed boost for economic development and job creation, turning contaminated sites into community assets,” said Cosmo Servidio, EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator.

“Northampton County has a proven track record of success, and redevelopment projects ready to go to put people back to work and increase local tax revenue,” Servidio said.

The county will use the supplemental funding to recapitalize their loan fund, from which they will provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities, according to the EPA.

Possible projects the funding could support include the former Dixie Cup site in Easton, or the Easton Iron and Metal. Redevelopment of the latter site would create a new hub between the Simon Silk Mill site, Lafayette University, and downtown Easton.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation supports Northampton County and the RLF funding through LVEDC’s redevelopment program, the Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative (LVLRI).

LVLRI is an advisory group focused on promoting economic redevelopment through the reuse of abandoned and underutilized commercial and industrial properties, also known as brownfields.

Previous RLF funding in Northampton County was awarded to the Green Knights Economic Development Corporation to redevelop a used tire dump and tire fire area to create the new Green Knight Industrial Park in Wind Gap and Plainfield Township.

It was built on the former JH Beers property. Originally a slate quarry, by 2000 the site was the home of a tire-burning operation and the third largest tire dump in Pennsylvania, prior to its redevelopment.

The new $375,000 in RLF funding was announced as the EPA celebrates its 50th anniversary commemoration, and it is part of $8.8 million in federal funds the organization has awarded nationwide this year.

Recipients of EPA’s Brownfields RLF funding provide low-interest loans and sub-grants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfields sites. When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community.

To date, EPA’s RLF grantees across the country have completed 759 cleanups nationwide, and attracted approximately 45,000 jobs and $8.4 billion in public and private funding.

Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfields Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes, while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. For example, brownfields grants are shown to:

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