With an EPA brownfields investment of $58,400, the QuikTrip on Rutherford Street yielded an additional $4 million in capital improvements and 20 full-time jobs.
Since 2000, the City of Greenville has received approximately $1.4 million from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brownfield grants. These grants have helped ensure a healthy environment, and have been leveraged into more than $60 million in economic development and more than 176 jobs in the city. In 2014, the City was awarded a $400,000 grant to be used for environmental assessments and outreach for the next 3 years. The focus of this grant will be the West Side (PDF), an area disproportionately impacted by Brownfields and the focus of the recently completed Connections for Sustainability grant project.
Jobs, quality of life, and the variety of services available in our community are positively impacted when we identify and address Brownfields. Brownfields are properties where the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Assessing, cleaning up, and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment and community health, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off undeveloped woodlands and farms outside the city.
Brownfields can be old gas stations, auto shops, dry cleaners, industrial sites – anywhere chemicals, solvents, fertilizers, and fuels may have been used regularly or stored. Spills of these chemicals into the environment may have gone undetected for years, but can be costly to clean up. While most of these sites pose little to no risk to the community, the potential for unknown cleanup costs can deter potential developers from turning these sites into something new to benefit the community. So, Brownfields may sit underutilized or abandoned for years, usually in districts that have not seen the growth and increase in value that nearby areas have experienced. They can cause blight as they fall into disrepair and bring down the desirability of surrounding property.
What You Can Do
- Stay informed: Updates about this project will be provided regularly at the monthly neighborhood association meetings in West End, West Greenville, and Southernside, as well as in any other community where a brownfield is identified and assessed. Additionally, the quarterly newsletter will provide updates about the properties assessed, upcoming events, and information about the project. Subscribe to the newsletter. If you’d rather receive a phone call notification for events, please let us know.
- Attend a meeting: In addition to the neighborhood association meetings, we will host several larger public meetings throughout the project to answer any questions and share updates. A volunteer citizen task force will lead the project and meet quarterly to select sites to be assessed. If you are interested in volunteering for the task force or attending one of the meetings, please contact us we’d love to have you!
- Attend an event: Join us for a movie night at Sustainable Cinema, or for one of the guest speaker events at Sustainable Conversations. These fun, educational events are designed to address current hot topics in our community. If you have an idea of something you’d like us to cover, or a speaker you’d like to hear, let us know.
- Tell us what you think: Do you have questions about a possible brownfield in your neighborhood? Do you have a suggestion or comment to share about the Brownfields project? Your questions and comments will help us make the best use of the opportunities provided by this grant. The contact for the project is Christa Jordan, Livability/Brownfields Coordinator, City of Greenville by phone at 864-467-4428 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.