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City receives EPA brownfields grant

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Springfield will receive a $200,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to test six former industrial sites in the Jordan Creek area for potential contamination, according to a press release from the office of 7th District Congressman Roy Blunt.

The EPA's Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot Grant was awarded to 57 communities around the nation to help clean up and redevelop abandoned, contaminated properties and bring them back into use, according to the release.

Mary Lilly Smith, economic development coordinator for the city, said the grant was important because it was a kind of gatekeeper for other programs.

"This grant will really allow us to be considered for other brownfields redevelopment grants. In a lot of cases, you have to have received this grant before you can even be eligible for others," Smith said.

In addition to enabling the city to test the six sites in the Jordan Creek corridor, a portion of the grant money will be used to hire a brownfields coordinator, Smith added.

The grant is important in the development of Civic Park, a center-city park that will be funded by the proceeds of a voter-approved increase in the city's hotel-motel tax, said Mayor Lee Gannaway, in the release.

"Center-city park is the place where the entire community will come together. It's everyone park. It's grand and unique that the first brownfield grant to Springfield would help this project," Gannaway said.

Springfield made another, unsuccessful, bid for this grant in 1996, Smith said.

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