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Press Release
Waste Division

Tool shows how millions in brownfields grant investments in Arizona communities are cleaning up blighted properties and reaping public health, environmental and economic benefits

Phoenix (July 11, 2023) – Arizona communities have leveraged brownfields grants to revitalize blighted properties statewide since 2005. Brownfields grants help municipalities and nonprofits identify and reduce environmental hazards, mitigate public health threats, create new business opportunities, increase tax revenues and restore impacted properties to beneficial reuse.

“Brownfields grants are a wonderful avenue for municipalities and nonprofits to address local environmental issues. These projects serve the people of Arizona by giving good attention and care to these properties that too often become obstacles to a community’s ability to grow,” said Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Karen Peters.

To start this year’s grant cycle, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) introduces its Brownfields Grant Program Online StoryMap, an ArcGIS tool anyone can use to view and read all the stories behind the brownfields transformations we helped make happen. This GIS-driven tool was created and launched primarily by two ADEQ interns.

With just a click and a scroll, anyone can see photos and read stories about historic structures and main streets redeveloped to boost tourism and community services, new greenspaces created and healthcare facilities added where they are most needed.

“Arizona’s brownfields grants help create opportunities for our communities that weren’t there before,” said ADEQ Brownfields Coordinator Travis Barnum. “When a blighted site is cleaned up, it’s a boon to local families and businesses, and with this online story map, you can see their inspiring stories all in one place.”

In fiscal year 2023, ADEQ awarded $1,275,000 in brownfields grants to support 17 projects to assess and clean up brownfields sites, including:

  • Flagstaff, AZ: Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona purchased the former Travel Lodge with the intention of redeveloping it into transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness. Prior to renovations to comply with American with Disabilities Act and fire code requirements, surveying revealed asbestos in the building material. Our $235,000 grant covered the cost of safely removing the asbestos from the property, allowing renovations to go forward. The units will have onsite services and independent studios, helping people stabilize and transition from homelessness to permanent housing.
  • Superior, AZ: The Town of Superior acquired the historical Superior High School which is being renovated into a new Town Hall as well as a campus for job training, entrepreneurial support and co-working, featuring library services, a senior center, community recreation, and more. Our $155,000 grant covered the cost of safely removing asbestos from the former high school, allowing renovations to go forward.
  • Globe, AZ: The City of Globe took ownership of a defunct commercial space that struggled to keep tenants after the anchor business moved to a new location. The City of Globe approved a reuse plan for the site as a new firehouse station. Before the existing structure could be demolished, the building materials needed to be cleared of asbestos containing materials. ADEQ awarded the City of Globe $52,000 to remove the asbestos from the building to make way for the new fire station.

ADEQ both administers a state-level brownfields assistance program to provide brownfields grant funds and helps municipal and nonprofit applicants prepare successful federal grant applications.

ADEQ Brownfields Grant Program ArcGIS StoryMap (best viewed on a desktop device) | Visit StoryMap >

What is a Brownfield? See Infographic > | ADEQ’s Brownfields page >

“Brownfields Minute” video series:

The Brownfields Assistance Program conducts projects through Arizona’s State Response Grant using funds provided by the Environmental Protection Agency. The program assists local governments, schools, hospitals, nonprofits and Tribal Nations | Download Application >