SPRINGFIELD – Governor George H. Ryan today released $4 million in state funds to continue one of the nation’s largest environmental clean-up programs targeting polluted and neglected urban “brownfields.”
The funds released by the governor allow municipalities and private entities to demolish, clean up and re-develop old factories, warehouses and other acreage in cities and villages that for too long have not been used to their full potential.
“Four years ago my administration began taking aim at brownfield sites in big cities and small towns all over this state. Some of these properties were just eyesores, and some were dangerous and polluted from years of neglect. All of them are a drain on local economies,” Ryan said. “ This program helps local communities sweep away these brownfields, enabling them to attract new developments and new jobs.”
Prior to 1999, local governments had little help from the state in the expensive task of cleaning up dangerous industrial properties that had been closed down and abandoned. Since 1999, the state has earmarked $67 million for the remediation of brownfields across Illinois.
To date, more than 300 brownfield sites – more than 4,881 acres – have been cleaned using state funds. Another 5,600 acres have been cleaned through a voluntary clean up program run by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Ryan released $2 million in Illinois FIRST funds to provide low-interest loans for municipalities to pay for site studies, demolition and clean up. The governor released another $2 million to directly reimburse local governments for the cost of cleaning up polluted properties.