Anchorage to receive EPA grant to address distressed properties

The Municipality of Anchorage is getting a $300,000 grant to help clean up distressed properties. The money is part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownsfields Assessment Grants program, which aims to redevelop properties that are unoccupied or under-used.

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In Anchorage, that means eight to ten sites will be analyzed to see if there’s any environmental contamination, and potentially draft a clean-up plan. Nicole Jones-Vogel manages land for the city’s real-estate department, which is helping administer the grant. She said decisions about which properties will be selected for improvements are going to be determined by the city’s long-term infrastructure planning, focused on areas served by major roadways and green-belt trails.

“The vision is to spur development, economic growth, and get the limited parcels that we have redeveloped and used in accordance with the adopted plans, and the 2040 land use plan map, and any other district or neighborhood plan,” Jones-Vogel said.

The money won’t actually be put towards clean up efforts. Instead, the aim is to figure out whether or not there’s been contamination, potentially removing the clean-up liability from would-be developers.

Jones-Vogel and other city employees will work with partners in community groups and non-profits as part of a planning committee to pick the sites.

“So when we originally started talking about going after this grant opportunity, we were looking at places like Mt. View, Fairview, Downtown, and identifying some of those underutilized, vacant, blighted parcels,” Jones-Vogel said.

Jones-Vogel expects the Brownsfields money could start coming in before the end of December as part of the three year grant.

Zachariah Hughes reports on city & state politics, arts & culture, drugs, and military affairs in Anchorage and South Central Alaska.

@ZachHughesAK About Zachariah

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