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Riverfront Park Selected for $600,000 in Brownfields Cleanup Grants

Contact: Fianna Dickson, 509.625.6297

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 3:31 p.m.

The EPA has selected the City of Spokane for three brownfields cleanup grants totaling $600,000. These hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up contaminated soils at Havermale Island, Canada Island, and the North Bank Development Area, three sites in Riverfront Park, 100 acres of land and water in the heart of downtown Spokane and the location of the 1974 World’s Fair.

“EPA is committed to working with communities to redevelop Brownfields sites which have plagued their neighborhoods. EPA’s Assessment and Cleanup grants target communities that are economically disadvantaged and include places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These grants leverage considerable infrastructure and other investments, improving local economies and creating an environment where jobs can grow. I am very pleased the President’s budget recognizes the importance of these grants by providing continued funding for this important program.”

The 1.7-acre Havermale Island site was originally used for commercial businesses and railroad tracks. It is contaminated with arsenic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The two-acre Canada Island site was historically used for a water pumping plant, lumber storage yards, and a dry cleaning facility. It is contaminated with arsenic and other metals. The four-acre North Bank Development Area consists of three parcels that were formerly used as lumber storage yards and railroad tracks. It is contaminated with mercury, cadmium, and other metals.

“We are growing Spokane’s economic vitality one park, one employer, one job at a time,” said Spokane Mayor David Condon. “Much of our strategic plan is built on partnerships, reinvestment and creative reuse of important neighborhood and community assets. The working relationship we have with the EPA is bringing that vision to life through the cleanup grants and past assistance in assessments, planning and technical guidance the agency has brought to the table for Spokane to further leverage the investments our citizens are already making.”

“These three cleanup grants are a great boost in our efforts to revitalize Riverfront Park and the downtown core,” said Chris Wright, Park Board president for the City of Spokane. “With these grants we can spend fewer local tax dollars on environmental clean-up and more toward infrastructure and attractions in the new park – like a great floods-themed playground.”

The environmental benefits provided by the brownfields cleanup activity are very important to Spokane and the Riverfront Park area.  Spokane Falls has long been a gathering place for people. Native Americans thrived here for ages before pioneers established the City in the late 1800s. For over 70 years the railroad industry fueled the City's growth, and rail yards and industries covered the present day park. In 1974, the site welcomed visitors to the first environmentally focused World's Fair.

In the 42 years since Expo '74, economic distress and lack of investment has resulted in deteriorating conditions that have negatively impacted the area. Over 5,000 of the City's most economically distressed residents reside in adjacent neighborhoods.

Extensive community engagement was central to establishing the Riverfront Park Master Plan, and citizens overwhelmingly chose to invest in the future of park. With over 2 million annual visitors, the park will continue to serve as the primary economic generator for downtown Spokane.

Brownfields assessment and cleanup grants target communities with significant distress. These communities are economically disadvantaged -- neighborhoods where environmental assessment, cleanup and new jobs are most needed for residents that have historically been left behind.

Spokane is one of 172 communities selected nationally for new brownfields assessment and cleanup funding in 2017.  Across the country, $56.8 million in funding will be granted.

More information about Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment Grants: www.epa.gov/brownfields

More information about the 2017 grant recipients: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-list-fy17-grants-selected-funding

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