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King County wins funding to evaluate contaminated ‘brownfield’ sites

Summary

The Duwamish industrial area and surrounding neighborhoods will benefit from an influx of grant funds King County will receive to help communities assess sites that are vacant or underutilized because of possible contaminations.

Story

The Duwamish industrial area and surrounding neighborhoods will benefit from an influx of grant funds King County will receive to help communities assess sites that are vacant or underutilized because of possible contamination.

"Economic opportunity and community health are two sides of the same coin,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “By restoring these Duwamish sites to productive use, we can create jobs, open space and housing, which will benefit people everywhere in our region.”

Today King County announced that it has been selected to receive two $200,000 assessment grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Solid Waste and Environmental Response. King County has received $2.5 million in EPA Brownfields assessment and cleanup grants since 1998.

The new funding will be used primarily on sites in the King County Duwamish Manufacturing/Industrial Center and its surrounding residential neighborhoods of South Park, Georgetown and Allentown.

“We’ve seen Brownfield projects kick start impressive community re-development and revitalization,” said Dennis McLerran, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 10. “By leveraging Brownfields funding to clean-up and reuse contaminated properties, King County can protect the environment, boost local economies and prevent sprawl.”

"These grants will help King County continue its work with local communities for more than 15 years to encourage revitalization and to clean up damaged parcels of land that blight our neighborhoods," said Lucy Auster, senior planner for the King County Solid Waste Division.

Focus on the Duwamish supports the County’s Equity and Social Justice Initiative, which works to achieve equitable opportunities for all people and communities in King County.

The Duwamish has a disproportionately high percentage of the county’s contaminated sites as well as disproportionately high rates of lung cancer and low birth weight babies, among other health indicators, compared to the county as a whole.

Conducting assessments on properties can help lead to their clean-up and eventual redevelopment. A project that has received assessment assistance under a previous grant is a former Chubby and Tubby store and historic gas station in the Rainier Valley that was redeveloped by the nonprofit SouthEast Effective Development into a mixed-use project with 75 affordable housing units and 5,900 square feet of new commercial/retail space.

The EPA defines a brownfield site as: "...real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant."

For more information, contact Lucy Auster at 206-296-8476, or visit the website.

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