Brownfields Funding

Brownfields are generally abandoned or vacant land that is — or is perceived to be — polluted or contaminated. Often times these properties are considered “blight,” preventing community investment, reducing property values and negatively impacting quality of life. Brownfields are often concentrated in economically distressed communities in post-industrial cities.

Federal Funding

EPA’s Brownfields Program funds the assessment, remediation, community engagement, and reuse of contaminated land. EPA has different grant and loan programs for each phase of the process. Those new to brownfields revitalization should focus on EPA’s assessment grants and multipurpose grants (offered in annual cycles in alternating years) and consult with the Technical Assistance to Brownfields provider and EPA Regional Office Brownfields Program staff.

  • Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB)

    Technical Assistance to Brownfields providers are regionally-based organizations that offer assistance to jurisdictions and organizations interested in exploring the viability of a brownfield conversion project. TAB providers are funded by the EPA, so their technical services are free.
    Typical Grant Amount
    Up to $100,000
    Match from other sources
    Not Applicable
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Nonprofit organizations, local governments, tribal governments, tribal organizations
    Learn More
  • Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

    This program empowers communities working on solutions to local environmental and public health issues. The program helps communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks. All projects are associated with at least one qualified environmental statute.
    Typical Grant Amount
    Up to $100,000
    Accessibility of Funds
    Accessible
    Match from other sources
    Not Applicable
    Park Funding Use
    Programming
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Nonprofit organizations, tribal governments, tribal organizations
    Learn More
  • Assessment Grants

    Assessment Grants provide funding for a grant recipient to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct a range of planning activities, such as developing site-specific cleanup plans and conduct community involvement related to brownfield sites. Nonprofits and local governments considering buying or accepting a donation of a brownfield site need to do appropriate due diligence, as detailed in EPA’s All Appropriate Inquiries.
    Typical Grant Amount
    Up to $350,000
    Accessibility of Funds
    Accessible
    Match from other sources
    20%
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Nonprofit organizations, local governments and government entities, state governments, tribal governments
    Learn More
  • Cleanup Grants

    Cleanup Grants provide funding to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites owned by the applicant.
    Typical Grant Amount
    $300,000 - $500,000
    Accessibility of Funds
    Accessible
    Match from other sources
    Up to 20%
    Park Funding Use
    Capital/Land Acquisition
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Nonprofit organizations, local governments and government entities, state governments, tribal governments
    Learn More
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State Funding

There are state, regional, and local programs that can support brownfield revitalization projects, as well, through grants, loans, tax credits, tax amnesty, liability relief, technical assistance and more. For example, Municipal Property Tax Amnesty Programs enable a municipality to waive collection of taxes, providing land at a lower cost. Following is a list of the types of programs many states have, as well as examples of a few model state programs.

  • US Environmental Protection Agency Regional Offices

    Every state is within one of ten EPA regions, and each EPA regional office has staff dedicated to brownfields revitalization who are knowledgeable about state funding sources.
    Match from other sources
    Varies by State
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Varies by State
    Learn More
  • State Underground Storage Tank (UST) Financial Assurance Funds

    Most states have funds to help underground storage tank owners comply with the federal financial responsibility regulation. These funds pay to clean up newly reported releases as well as ongoing cleanups.
    Match from other sources
    Varies by State
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Varies by State
    Learn More
  • State Environmental Agencies

    Most state environmental agencies have brownfields offices, although some brownfield programs are also based in state economic development agencies and local and regional government bodies.
    Match from other sources
    Varies by State
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Varies by State
    Learn More
  • Ohio Brownfield Fund

    This collection of funding sources helps plan, assess, and remediate brownfields throughout the state. Brownfield redevelopment allows a community to reclaim and improve contaminated lands, making property viable for new development. The Fund provides loans up to $500,000 for Phase II Environmental Assessments, with flexible terms, deferred repayment periods, and below-market interest rates. The Fund can also provide loans up to $5,000,000 for environment cleanup, with deferred repayment periods and below-market interest rates.
    Match from other sources
    Varies by State
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Varies by State
    Learn More
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Additional Resources

Case Studies

Share Your Experience

This Hub highlights select federal and state funding programs that can be particularly effective at funding parks and green infrastructure in low-income communities. It is not intended to be a comprehensive source of funding opportunities, but a starting point with examples, links to additional information, and case studies.

We invite you to help us make this Hub stronger by sharing your experiences applying for, and implementing programs with these funding sources.

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Brownfields are generally abandoned or vacant land that is — or is perceived to be — polluted or contaminated. Often times these properties are considered “blight,” preventing community investment, reducing property values and negatively impacting quality of life. Brownfields are often concentrated in economically distressed communities in post-industrial cities.

Reinvestment in these properties can transform blight into community assets, through affordable housing, community gardens, playgrounds, parks and more. However, in weak real estate markets, with low property values and limited private investment, municipalities may be inclined to redevelop brownfield sites to commercial or industrial uses for tax revenue purposes, rather than as a public amenity. An active and engaged community can be critical in making a compelling case for transforming a brownfield into a park, trail or public space that can contribute to a healthy, vibrant community.

Transforming a brownfield into a park can be a complicated and expensive process and funds are very competitive, requiring creative partnerships with local governments, community development organizations, philanthropy, and businesses. Diverse partnerships can tap a wide variety of funding sources, such as Community Development Block Grants.