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Illinois Congressman Sorensen Announces Millions to Tackle Polluted Brownfield Sites

Congressman Eric Sorensen (IL-17) joined the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to announce $4,057,730 in grants to revitalize contaminated sites in Northwestern Illinois. 

 “Too many communities in Central and Northwestern Illinois struggle with pollution and other environmental challenges from decades ago,” said Sorensen. “I’m thrilled to join the Environmental Protection Agency to announce over $4 million to revitalize burdened areas and set them up for economic success. Efforts like these will result in a healthier, stronger region for generations to come.” 

 The four grants, awarded to Freeport, Rock Falls, Sterling, and the Region 1 Planning Council come as part of the EPA’s Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant Programs. The program sets communities up for economic success by addressing brownfields – abandoned sites that are difficult to redevelop due to possible on-site pollution or contamination.  

Illinois Congressman Sorensen Announces Millions to Tackle Polluted Brownfield Sites

Eric Sorensen

 

The funding will help communities address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields by assessing damage and initiating cleanup efforts. 

 

Details on the four awards and impacted communities are below: 

 

Recipient: Freeport, IL 

Cleanup Grant 

Amount: $1,757,730 

 

EPA has selected the City of Freeport for a Brownfields Cleanup Grant that will be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Grant funds will be used to clean up the Former One-Hour Martinizing Cleaners & Aloha Tattoo Site at 17 and 19 West Main Street. The buildings at both 17 and 19 West Main Street were constructed in 1897. Until 1961, 19 West Main Street operated as a furniture store and warehouse; from 1961 to 2005, it operated as a dry cleaner. The building at 17 West Main Street operated as a camera shop, drug store, boot and shoe shop, and tattoo parlor. Both buildings were condemned and have remained vacant since 2016. The site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds, metals, and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community engagement activities. 

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Recipient: Region 1 Planning Council, IL 

Assessment Grant 

Amount: $1,000,000 

 

EPA has selected the Region 1 Planning Council to lead a Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant that will be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Grant funds will be used to conduct 40 Phase I and 16 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop eight cleanup plans and five reuse plans, and support community engagement activities. Assessment activities will focus on the Auburn Street Corridor in West Rockford; an area known as N 2nd Target Area in the Cities of Loves Park and Rockford and unincorporated areas within Winnebago County; Downtown Belvidere; and the Broadway Corridor in South Rockford. Priority sites include a 5-acre vacant site with a history of residential and filling station uses, a former apple orchard, and a vacant site with a history of manufacturing uses that is adjacent to rail lines. Non-lead coalition members include Boone County, Winnebago County, and Rockford Mass Transit District. 

 

Recipient: Rock Falls, IL 

Multipurpose Grant 

Amount: $800,000 

 

EPA has selected the City of Rock Falls for a Brownfields Multipurpose Grant. Grant funds will be used to conduct five Phase I and two Phase II environmental site assessments (ESAs), including Phase I and II ESAs of the priority site, create a thorough site inventory, develop a Community Involvement Plan, and conduct other community outreach activities. Grant funds will also be used to clean up the priority site—the two-acre 700 West 2nd Street property–which is part of the larger Parrish Alford (P.A.) Fence & Machine Company site that has been vacant since 2002. The target area for this project is a low-income community comprising 1.1 square miles of the downtown and residential area along the Rock River. It was historically occupied by manufacturing industries, which provided tax revenue, employment, and other business opportunities. However, manufacturing facility closures in and around the target area—including Northwestern Steel and Wire, Reliant Fastener, and Stanley Black and Decker—resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs and a population decline, causing a decreasing tax base, more vacant properties, and lower property values. 

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Recipient: Sterling, IL 

Cleanup Grant 

Amount: $500,000 

 

EPA has selected the City of Sterling for a Brownfields Cleanup Grant that will be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Grant funds will be used to clean up the 3.5-acre Former Lawrence Brothers Hardware site located at 2 First Avenue. The cleanup site operated as a hardware manufacturer for nearly 100 years, and has been vacant and unused since 2006. It is 

contaminated with metals and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community engagement activities including a minimum of three public meetings. 

Illinois Congressman Sorensen Announces Millions to Tackle Polluted Brownfield Sites

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Sean Leary Director of Digital Media

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.

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