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November 17, 1999

Governor Announces Funding For Brownfields Redevelopment Projects

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that LaGrange, Havana, Harrisburg, North Chicago and Waukegan have been awarded Brownfields Redevelopment Grants to evaluate potential contamination and develop clean up plans for local sites.

"The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency brownfield grant program is an effective partnership between state and local governments to restore abandoned and contaminated sites," Ryan said. "These funds will help local communities take the steps necessary to return these sites to productive use."

The most recent award recipients were recognized by Illinois EPA Director Tom Skinner at the All Cities Brownfields Conference held today at Brookfield Zoo.

"We are pleased that 15 communities now have taken advantage of this program and are using these funds to remove longtime community eyesores and environmental hazards," said Director Skinner.

Previously, 10 communities were awarded grants under the program, which kicked off July 1, 1998. Those initial grants were issued to Alton, Canton, East Moline, Effingham, Farmington, Freeport, Lacon, Lockport, Macomb, and Peoria.

Grants of up to $120,000 may be used by municipalities to identify, investigate and characterize sites, determine clean up objectives and develop remedial action plans.

The five newest grant recipients are:

LaGrange: Grant of $120,000 to screen and investigate selected sites for suspected contamination in the "Triangle Properties." The properties proposed for commercial redevelopment include a variety of operating and abandoned or vacant commercial, retail and light industrial property.

Havana: Grant of $120,000 to determine the extent of contamination and develop a clean up plan for the Prairieland Steel facility, an abandoned wire manufacturing plant.

North Chicago: Grant of $120,000 to investigate and identify environmental concerns at both active and abandoned commercial and industrial facilities along a two-mile stretch of Sheridan Road.

Waukegan: Grant of $111,175 to develop a plan to prioritize clean up potential of sites within the central business district and waterfront areas.

Harrisburg: Grant of $39,706 to conduct additional investigation activities at two abandoned industrial railroad sites previously purchased by the city.

Additional information on the Illinois EPA Brownfields Initiative, including downloadable grant application forms are now available on the Internet at www.epa.state.il.us/land/brownfields.

Although the grants may not be used for actual clean up costs, Governor Ryan's Illinois FIRST program includes a new $10 million low-interest revolving loan program to assist both public and private redevelopers in the cost of removing environmental hazards. Illinois EPA expects to complete rulemaking and began accepting applications for the loans next spring.


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