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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

EPA grants $1 million to Beltline, Atlanta for brownfield clean-up

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  • EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson made her first official visit to Atlanta today to award a $1 million grant that'll help clean up toxic sites in the city and along the Beltline.

The grant, which will be used to start a  revolving loan fund, will pay for clean-ups of hazardous or polluted properties along seven of the city's redevelopment corridors: Memorial Drive, Pryor Road, Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, Simpson Road, Campbellton Road, Jonesboro Road and Stadium Area/Summerhill. The Beltline, the city's proposed 22-mile loop of parks, trails and transit, overlaps some of those selected areas.

The agency stipulates that $550,000 be used to clean up petroleum-spill sites and $450,000 to remove hazardous substances. Jackson said the grant could rehab 10 to 15 sites in the city — a nice help but a drop in the bucket since, according to officials, the Beltline and selected sites contain nearly 180 brownfields.

Cleaning up brownfields would boost the economy during and after remediation, Jackson said. Workers will be paid to bring the properties up to sound environmental status. Once improved, the sites will become public greenspace that could attract walkable and smart-growth developments nearby. That concept ties in nicely with the Beltline's vision of mixed-use residential properties near parks — all of which, some day, will be connected by transit.

After the jump, the requisite photo of public officials holding a giant plastic check.

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(Photos by Thomas Wheatley)

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