Camden, New Jersey Project Slated to Get $1 Million from EPA for Cleanup of Brownfield Site

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Grant selection is part of largest investment ever in brownfields communities made by President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda

Camden, NJ – RealEstateRama – EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia was joined today by U.S. Representative Donald Norcross and Camden Mayor Vic Carstarphen to announce that Camden has been selected to get $1 million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expedite the cleanup of Judge Robert B. Johnson Park. In all, EPA recently selected 262 communities to receive 267 grants totaling more than $215 million in competitive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) grant programs. Thanks to the historic boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this is the most funding ever awarded in the history of this EPA Brownfields grant program. EPA anticipates making all the awards to the selectees once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

Camden, New Jersey will use the $1 million to clean up the Judge Robert B. Johnson Park at 723 Carl Miller Boulevard. The 14.7-acre cleanup site was a former wetland where historic fill material was used to develop the site in the 1940s and 1950s. The site formerly contained residences and a former junkyard and was also used by a youth football league and neighborhood schools. The now-vacant site is contaminated with semi-volatile organic hydrocarbons, PCBs, metals, and pesticides. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community outreach activities including hosting three public meetings.

“We’re working across the country to revitalize what were once dangerous and polluted sites in overburdened communities into more sustainable and environmentally just places that serve as community assets. Thanks to President Biden’s historic investments in America, we’re moving further and faster than ever before to clean up contaminated sites, spur economic redevelopment, and deliver relief that so many communities have been waiting for,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This critical wave of investments is the largest in Brownfields history and will accelerate our work to protect the people and the planet by transforming what was once blight into might.”

“Camden has such an impressive track record of success with its Brownfields program, which has helped address neglected local areas by providing a means to revitalize abandoned properties and promote environmental health, economic growth, and job creation,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “The Brownfields program transforms communities, and the new funding through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law gives communities like Camden an opportunity to continue to make a real and lasting on-the-ground difference.”

“Today’s announcement will transform a once contaminated site into a new vibrant community space in Camden and I am proud to have helped secure this $1 million in federal funding from the bipartisan infrastructure bill,” said Senator Bob Menendez. “The historic investments we are making to reclaim and restore brownfields is vital to ensuring environmental justice for underserved communities and communities of color that too often shoulder the burden of legacy pollution. I am equally proud that an institution like New Jersey Institute of Technology will be receiving $5 million to provide training and technical assistance to communities conducting brownfields work across the state.”

“In communities across New Jersey, especially those that are Black, Brown, and low-income, residents live next to harmful contaminants, breathe in dirty air, and lack access to clean water and soil,” said Senator Cory Booker.  “Thanks to the efforts of the Biden Administration, these communities are finally receiving the federal resources needed to remediate these environmental injustices. The grant funding announced today, made possible by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which I was proud to vote for, will continue this vital work by empowering the City of Camden to revitalize a former park that was polluted with toxic metals and pesticides.”

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act continues to deliver for South Jersey through this Brownfield Grant that will create jobs, advance environmental justice, and spur economic revitalization,” Rep. Donald Norcross said. “Protecting our communities from harmful waste and pollution and repurposing these sites has been one of my top priorities since coming to Congress. I’m proud to have helped secure this funding, and I will continue to fight to improve our quality of life, protect our environment and ensure a healthy and safe environment for South Jersey families.”

“New Jersey thanks the Biden Administration and our congressional delegation for prioritizing investment in environmental justice communities both within the Garden State and across the nation,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “For far too long, communities under economic stress have lacked the resources necessary to launch large-scale environmental remediation projects. This significant Brownfields grant program funding will enable the City of Camden to promote environmental and public health while prioritizing community engagement.”

“Today we can all take pride in continuing with the transformation of Camden’s industrial history to ensure we have spectacular and tangible parks that offer diverse recreational opportunities for residents, visitors and businesses,” said Elizabeth Dragon, Assistant Commissioner for Economic Development and Community Revitalization in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. “The DEP is committed to working with our many partners in Camden and other overburdened communities across the state to provide equitable opportunities to access and enjoy our open and green spaces. We thank the EPA for providing this brownfields grant to Camden, which is allowing the city to continue its transformation, improve the quality of life for its residents, and promote sustainable growth. Congratulations to Camden on this remarkable achievement.”

“This park is incredibly important to the city of Camden, especially the residents of the Liberty Park and Centerville neighborhoods, which is why we are investing more than $2 million to rebuild it once the environmental remediation is completed,” said Commissioner Jeff Nash, liaison to the Camden County Parks Department. “This has long been a place for the community to gather and enjoy so ensuring that it’s safe and in the best condition possible, is a top priority for us.”

“I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their continued support and recognition of our efforts. This grant reinforces our commitment to creating a sustainable and vibrant future for Camden. This funding will directly contribute to the remediation of Robert B. Johnson Park, an important community space in the Liberty Park neighborhood. By reclaiming this park and making it safe and accessible for our community members, particularly our youth and families,” said Mayor Vic Carstarphen. “I would also like to acknowledge the collaborative efforts of our dedicated partners, including Congressman Donald Norcross, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Camden County Board of Commissioners, and the Camden Redevelopment Agency. Together, we are driving positive change and creating a stronger and more resilient Camden. As we move forward with this project, we remain committed to promoting environmental justice and sustainable development. Camden is a city with a rich history and strong sense of community, and this grant allows us to continue our journey towards a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous city for all.”

“It is the Camden Redevelopment Agency’s pleasure to partner in the revitalization of Judge Robert Johnson Park. This is an iconic open space asset for the City and Liberty Park neighborhood. At a time when environmental equity is a priority throughout the nation, we are proud to be an agent for change collaborating with such a strong team,” said Olivette Simpson, Interim Executive Director and Board Secretary for Camden Redevelopment Agency. “This $1 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is critical to leveraging other resources that will fully fund the estimated $3 million clean-up effort, leading to the Park’s state-of-the-art re-design and construction improvements. The commissioners, staff, and I are looking forward to doing our part to transform Judge Robert B. Johnson Park in into a safe, green, recreational space.”

These investments are part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to grow the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.

Many communities that are under economic stress, particularly those located in areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment, lack the resources needed to initiate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects. As brownfield sites are transformed into community assets, they attract jobs, promote economic revitalization and transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.

Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity, and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.

EPA’s Brownfields Program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative to direct 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments to disadvantaged communities. The Brownfields Program strives to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations into all aspects of its work. Approximately 84 percent of the MARC program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include historically underserved communities.

You can read more about the most recent selectees, here.

Brownfields Technical Assistance Providers and Research Grants

EPA also previously announced funding selection for two Brownfields technical assistance opportunities. The Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) selectees provide specialized technical knowledge, research, and training to help stakeholders understand brownfields-related subject matter, and guide them through the brownfield assessment, clean-up, and revitalization process. This assistance is a key part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance economic opportunities and address environmental justice issues in underserved communities. This technical assistance is available to all stakeholders and comes at no cost to communities. The two funding opportunities announced today include the following:

EPA selected New Jersey Institute of Technology to receive $5 million to provide training and technical assistance to communities across the state under the Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) Communities Program. This funding comes entirely from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

EPA is also expanding the scope of its technical assistance offerings under the Brownfields and Land Revitalization Program to include three new subject-specific grants totaling $2 million in three areas, including providing technical assistance to nonprofits seeking to reuse brownfields; provide research, outreach, and guidance on minimizing displacement resulting from brownfields redevelopment; and providing outreach and guidance on land banking tactics for brownfields revitalization.

More information about Brownfields Technical Assistance and Research.

Success of the Brownfields Program and National Conference

EPA has selected these organizations to receive funding to address and support the reuse of brownfield sites. EPA anticipates making all the awards announced today once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.37 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. EPA’s investments in addressing brownfield sites have leveraged more than $36 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding has leveraged, from both public and private sources, nearly 260,000 jobs. Communities that previously received Brownfields Grants used these resources to fund assessments and cleanups of brownfields, and successfully leverage an average of 10.6 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds spent and $19.78 for every dollar.

The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on August 8-11, 2023, in Detroit, Michigan. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing former commercial and industrial properties. EPA co-sponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

For more on Brownfields Grants.

More on EPA’s Brownfields Program.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter and visit our Facebook page. For more information about EPA Region 2, visit our website.


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