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Weekend edition March 18, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

TDEC grant turns brownfield problems into opportunities

There are three categories of grants available to cities and counties with brownfields.

Ever wondered about those neglected sites in your neighborhood? They’re called brownfields, places where past industrial activities left behind contamination, making redevelopment tricky. But here’s the thing—investing in cleaning them up can make a big difference.

Cleaning up brownfields means cleaner air, water, and soil for nearby residents. Plus, it helps stop cities from spreading out too much, which is good for everyone.

Amy MacKown and Paula Middlebrooks from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) presented about the brownfield site opportunities at the Opportunities in Appalachia event at Pellissippi State Community College in Blount County last week. They say revitalizing brownfields is all about investing in communities. They’re urging people to reach out if they know of a brownfield that needs fixing up.

In Tennessee, there are grants available to help with assessments and cleanup. Currently, there are a few assessment grants active in Campbell County, Chattanooga, Dunlap, and more. Chattanooga even got a remediation grant to help clean up their brownfields.

TDEC set aside $5 million to help cities and counties deal with brownfields. This money is split into three parts: finding the problems, investigating them, and then fixing them up.

Here is the breakdown of the grant categories:

  1. Identification ($20K grant over12 months)
  2. Investigation ($100K grant over 24 months)
  3. Remediation ($500K grant over 24 months)

MacKown and Middlebrooks hope these grants will change how people see brownfields. Instead of problems, they want cities and counties to see opportunities for their communities to grow and change.

Next time you see a rundown site in your neighborhood, remember—it could be the start of something great with a little help from TDEC.

Please contact TDEC if you want to discuss any potential brownfield sites.

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