The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Program provides grants, loans and technical assistance to communities, states, tribes and others to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated properties. The definition of a brownfield is: 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.
GPCOG administers two EPA brownfields programs. One program provides assessment grants to private and public entities to perform environmental assessments, quantify liabilities, and provide options for addressing them and protect future owners from liability of contamination. The second program provides clean-up grants and loans to public and private entities for engineering and cleanup of brownfields properties to facilitate their redevelopment.
Examples of GPCOG-funded projects in the Greater Portland Region:
GPCOG closed a $660,000 remediation loan to Thompson’s Point in April, 2018. The funds will be used for remediation at the hotel site, pavilion, loop road to the Children’s Museum, and parking garage on the current Suburban Propane site.
East Bayside Brownfield Assessment Project
In August 2015, the United States EPA awarded $200,000 to the Greater Portland Council of Governments to work closely with the City of Portland, Maine to develop a Brownfields Area Wide Plan for the East Bayside neighborhood. The focus of the project was to develop a brownfield action plan to guide and facilitate future development and redevelopment within the 130-acre land area of East Bayside.
East Bayside is a neighborhood with a manufacturing and industrial past that today, has transitioned to a mix of land uses including residential, light industrial, commercial, office and retail. Many of the properties in East Bayside are known or perceived to be affected by contamination, and this may inhibit opportunities for growth, community improvement, and redevelopment.
The East Bayside Area Wide Plan, published in January 2018, outlines an implementation plan to further catalyze the redevelopment of brownfields to achieve the following outcomes:
- Economic Development: Promote opportunities in food manufacturing and other related uses such as maker spaces, wholesale, and distribution
- Infrastructure: Reuse of existing infrastructure through re-evaluating land use options along and near Franklin Arterial and other major thoroughfares in East Bayside
- Equity: Support the integration of New Mainers as well as neighborhood residents and business owners into the political, social and economic fabric of East Bayside
- Greenspace: Optimization of green space by studying existing open space and the community based urban farm located along Franklin Arterial
- Housing: Encourage the development of market-rate and affordable housing
Avesta’s “Adams School” in Portland’s East End
GPCOG funded both assessment and clean-up funds for the redevelopment of two parking lots at the former Adams School. The parcel was redeveloped into 16 2 &3 bedroom affordable townhomes and a new neighborhood park.
Current Assessment Project in South Portland
GPCOG is currently funding assessment work at an empty lot that will be redeveloped into a five-story, 56,000 square foot mixed-use, mixed-income project consisting of 64 units of housing (non-age restricted), retail space for a neighborhood store and commercial office space.
For more information on this program, contact Jennifer Brennan at email@example.com