| EPA awards funding to clean up these two Arizona cities

By  – Senior Reporter, Phoenix Business Journal

Two Arizona cities were awarded funds for cleanup projects from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of a $54.3 million funding package for 221 projects nationwide.

Both Peoria and Tucson will receive funds for different projects.

Peoria will get $165,000 for hazardous waste assessments at the proposed 99th Avenue and Olive Trailhead and Fitness Park on Olive Avenue.

Adina C. Lund, development and engineering director for the city of Peoria, said the city has $2 million programmed for design and construction of the project.

“Once we utilize the EPA grant to investigate the site, we will determine if we can move forward with the project,” Lund said in an email. “We anticipate the award of the money in October and a six-month time frame for investigation and recommendations.”

So far, the city has not selected a design or construction firm for the project, Lund said.

Peoria’s assessment grant will be instrumental in helping the city purchase, clean up and develop the proposed Olive Avenue trailhead, said John Sefton, Peoria’s community services department director.

For nearly 20 years, the property operated as a sand and gravel pit and, later, used as a landfill. Since the 1990s, the site has been a magnet for illegal dumping and an eyesore for neighborhood residents. Its redevelopment promises to bring more access to the New River Trail system, improve air quality by reducing particulate matter from the site and increase opportunities for physical activity.

“The creation of a trailhead and fitness park will reconnect the local community to the river corridor and create a vibrant and healthy space for our residents,” Sefton said in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, Tucson will get $300,000 for 19 site assessments and four cleanup plans along the 12th Avenue Corridor, known locally as La Doce.

In Tucson, La Doce is a significant contributor to the city’s cultural landscape. This funding will allow Tucson to assess various commercial properties with a goal of attracting new businesses, spurring commercial investment and reducing air pollution and blight in the area. Commercial revitalization in the corridor is expected to increase walkability, enrich regional identity, improve tourism and expand safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit users. Since 1997, the EPA has awarded Tucson $2.9 million in Brownfields grants.

The funding comes from EPA’s Brownsfield Program, which expands the ability of communities to recycle vacant and abandoned properties for new productive re-uses by using existing infrastructure, said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in a prepared statement.

“These grants leverage other public and private investments, and improve local economies through property cleanup and redevelopment,” Pruitt said.

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