EPA Awards City of Fort Collins $500,000 Grant to Assess Brownfields Along Poudre River

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded a $500,000 grant to the City of Fort Collins and partners Larimer County and the Downtown Development Authority to conduct environmental assessments in the Poudre River/North College area.

Fort Collins was one of 15 communities or counties to receive $4.8 million in Region 8 through the EPA’s Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup grant competition. For more information about the grants, go to http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/news/.

The grant to Fort Collins’ Sustainability Services Area will be used to further assess some blighted areas that may be contaminated – properties that were once used for such things as manufactured gas production, auto repair and servicing, petroleum retail sales and dry cleaning. The grant will help set the stage for environmental cleanup where needed.

Those blighted properties now hinder the City’s desire through City Plan to connect Downtown to the North College corridor and to promote redevelopment that could provide additional housing and other infill projects that could bring jobs. Obstacles include outdated buildings, surface parking lots and underused land parcels with limited pedestrian and connecting bike paths.

“We appreciate our partnership with the EPA, Larimer County and the DDA to further promote healthy, sustainable connections and improve the quality of life for residents and businesses in this area,” said City Manager Darin Atteberry.

The grant is the second obtained by the City from the EPA for assessments along the Poudre River. In 2000, the EPA awarded the City a $250,000 Assessment Demonstration Pilot grant as part of the City’s Downtown River Corridor Implementation Program. The City conducted soil and groundwater testing in the area before building Northside Aztlan Community Center - the first LEED Gold certified community center in the nation. The first grant also helped the City improve its water quality and habitat along that stretch of the Poudre.