MISSOULA - Missoula County will receive another $500,000 in federal money to help with environmental cleanup, and eventual redevelopment, of several contaminated sites across the community.
The money comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's "Brownfields" grant program, which is targeted at helping communities undertake the expense of smaller, but critical environmental cleanup projects they wouldn't be able to fund on their own.
For Missoula County, that means help for sites in East Missoula, Bonner, West Riverside, Milltown, and Piltzville, which saw different industrial uses in the past that could present health and safety problems before the sites could be repurposed for other things, like new housing.
Targeted sites include the East Missoula Town Center complex, which includes former fueling stations, a truck repair facility, and a junk vehicles yard; a former school building; a 108-acre former sawmill and industrial landfill; an 86-acre former gravel mine complex; and the Fort Missoula/Target Range. In all, 18 sites will have a complete environmental assessment, and plans for cleanup of any contaminants and reuse of the properties.
EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker says the projects will "improve community health and create new opportunities and assets in places that need them the most."
Senator Jon Tester noted the funding is an example of how the bi-partisan infrastructure bill could be used to "repurpose old or abandoned properties in the Treasure State and create good paying jobs in the process."
“Missoula County is delighted to learn of this award,” said Sindie Kennedy, Missoula County Brownfields Manager. “This grant will allow the existing brownfields program to grow and further enhance housing affordability, recreational access, and business opportunity through redevelopment of underused and languishing properties in the county. So far, the Missoula County brownfields program has leveraged over $40 million in non-brownfields funding to support redevelopment. This new award will result in a significant increase in redevelopment investment. We are extremely grateful to the EPA for this opportunity.”