Brownfields – Brownfields are abandoned, lightly contaminated properties often found in economically distressed areas that can be returned to economically thriving, community hubs. Since 1993, the EPA has taken significant steps to clean up brownfields and return them to productive use, awarding millions of dollars in grants to cities, counties, tribes, states, non-profit organizations and educational institutions nationwide. The city has received IDFA grants for inventory and assessment purposes, a U.S. EPA Brownfields Pilot grant for the assessment of the J-Pit area, two U.S. EPA Brownfields job training grants, and several other state and federal grants.
Urban Agriculture & Food Systems Program – Urban Agriculture and Community Gardening has become more popular in inner cities and places with food desserts. While these practices provide alternative land uses, they also provide different forms of positive community engagement while addressing healthy food choices. To promote this initiative, workshops and other activities and events will be made available to the community.
Landfill Post Closure – Since the 1997 closing of the Gary sanitary landfill, the Environmental Affairs Department staff has been responsible for carrying out the 30-year post closure monitoring maintenance requirements since 1999 established by the IDEM. The city set up a $1.7 million dollar fund to cover a 30-year period. The monitoring and maintenance schedule requires weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly inspections and reports.
- The J-Pit encompasses roughly 114 acres bounded by the Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railroad to the west, 17th Avenue to the north, Colfax Street to the east, and the 21st Avenue Right-of-Way (ROW) to the south. The site is a former gravel and sand quarry.
- The J-Pit is about 25-30 feet deep. The City of Gary is responsible for its management, which includes continual pumping to keep the quarry from filling with water. The quarry is dewatered as part of the landfill hydraulic control system with an extraction pump located on the western side. Shallow water-filled ditches run through the quarry to the dewatering pumps. A leachate collection system and berm is located along the eastern border of the parcel.
- The J-Pit offers an opportunity for creating valuable open space recreation, ecological habitat and wetlands, as well as, employment opportunities.
Scavenger Services – Permits are required for any individual or company who shall go to place to place within the city on any vehicle, mechanical or otherwise, for the purpose of collecting garbage, rubbish, ashes, or waste material, or any individual who shall engage in the business of collecting garbage, waste material, ashes, or rubbish. Contact the Finance Department for forms.
Brownfields Redevelopment Assessment, Remediation Planning Implementation and Redevelopment.
The Brownfields Program include Inventory Assessment, Remediation, Planning and Implementation, and Redevelopment Activates.
The Brownfields Specialist oversees and implements the city’s Brownfields program. The city has received IDFA grants for inventory and assessment IDFA purposes, a U.S. EPA Brownfields Pilot, grant for the assessment of the J-Pit area and a U.S. EPA Brownfields job training grant. The Brownfields Specialist represents the city on the Northwest Indiana Brownfields Redevelopment Project board. Environmental Justice issues are also a part of the Brownfields Specialist’s area of concern and oversight.
The establishment of an interdepartmental Task Force for Brownfields Redevelopment is currently being implemented through the J-Pit crew.
City of Gary gets $200,00 Job Training Grant
On the heels of comprehensive new brownfields legislation passed by Congress, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman has announced $2 million in grants to provide environmental job training at brownfields sites in nine states and Washington, DC Whitman made the announcement during a visit to the Alice Hamilton Occupational Health Center. During the visit the Administrator observed students in the last session of Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response training.
“Job training programs such as this one provide local residents with the skills they need to participate in the cleanup of brownfields in their own communities – and to pursue careers in the environmental field,” Administrator Whitman told students. “Brownfields are eyesores in our otherwise vibrant city neighborhoods and we have to work hard to clean them up and turn them into community assets. When you look at an abandoned gas station or an old warehouse, I know you see the same thing that I do – a playground, a doctor=doctors office, or a ball field. I appreciate your dedication to making these kinds of transformations possible.”
The job training grants, totaling $200,000 each, are used to teach environmental-cleanup job skills to individuals living in low-income areas in the vicinity of brownfields sites. The majority of participants who successfully complete the training program go on to pursue careers with environmental firms and organizations. Since the program started in 1998, 566 trainees, the majority of whom are minority, have been hired at an average hourly entry-level wage of $12.12.
Brownfields are abandoned, lightly contaminated properties often found in economically distressed areas, that can be returned to economically thriving, community hubs. Since 1993, the EPA has taken significant steps to clean up brownfields and return them to productive use, awarding over $200 million in grants to cities, counties, tribes, states, non-profit organizations and educational institutions nationwide.
According to an independent study conducted by the Council for Urban Economic Development, the revitalization of brownfields has created over 22,000 permanent jobs and leveraged $2.48 in private investment for every dollar spent by federal, state or local governments. A recent study by George Washington University found that for every acre of brownfields redeveloped, 4.5 acres of undeveloped land is saved.
With the $200,000 Brownfields Job Training and Development grant, Groundwork Providence Inc. plans to train 90 participants recruited from underemployed or unemployed residents of Providence’s three Enterprise Community neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are predominantly minority and neighborhood poverty rates range as high as 47%. The city contains hundreds of manufacturing mills, most of which are now under used or abandoned. Approximately 150 mills are being considered for economic development or historic preservation. Providence is a leader in the preservation and reuse of historical industrial properties, and the state has a new program that offers tax incentives to businesses reusing vacant mill space. The 252-hour environmental technician training program will consist of health and safety, lead abatement, asbestos abatement, and innovative re mediation technologies. The Providence Department of Planning and Development has committed to placing graduates on its list of first source hires.