EPA sends $1.5M to help clean up blighted properties in Salt Lake County

May 28, 2023, 1:05 PM

Schovaers Electrionics building in Salt Lake City....

An updated photo of the former Schovaers Electrionics building in Salt Lake City. The city received early $500,000 from an Environmental Protection Agency grant to clean up the site along the Folsom Trai. (Environmental Protection Agency)

(Environmental Protection Agency)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Environmental Protection Agency is sending nearly $1.5 million in funding to a pair of projects in Salt Lake County under a grant that helps communities “assess, clean up and revitalize properties.”

The agency announced Thursday that it will send about $1 million in Brownfield Grant Funding to Salt Lake County to help it clean up more than 20 “high-priority” sites in Magna, while the remaining $495,200 will go to Salt Lake City to help it clean up the old Schovaers Electronics building in Poplar Grove.

“Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County continue to deliver high-value property cleanup and redevelopment projects with EPA Brownfields grants. We look forward to seeing these funds transform blighted sites into new community assets,” said EPA regional administrator KC Becker, in a statement.

The brownfield grant program sends federal money to help communities assess and clean up contaminated properties so that blighted properties can have “productive reuse” in the future, according to the EPA. It has doled out $2.37 billion in grants since the program was established in 1995. Previous projects have, in turn, resulted in about $36 billion in redevelopment, adding 10.6 jobs per $100,000.

The program even received $1.5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that President Joe Biden signed in 2021.

Salt Lake County plans to use its grant money to make repairs to former industrial and commercial buildings, and other vacant properties in Magna, clearing out contaminants like include asbestos, lead, metals, petroleum hydrocarbons and dry cleaning solvents. County officials say the spaces currently occupied by the vacant buildings may end up being used for new affordable housing or business spaces.

“These funds will allow us to assess contamination and clear the path for meaningful redevelopment, making the county safer and healthier for all residents,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson.

The money directed to Salt Lake City will help the ongoing changes happening near North Temple on the city’s west side, according to Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall.

She explained that the city is looking to turn the old Schovaers Electronics building into “small-scale, trail-oriented and affordable commercial space for local, independent businesses and nonprofit organizations” along the Folsom Trail, which opened last year and is slated to expand to the Jordan River Trail in the near future.

“This EPA grant signifies a major step in Salt Lake City’s efforts to revitalize this westside corridor,” she said. “The planned adaptive reuse of the Schovaers Electronics building is key to the (Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City’s) overarching revitalization work in the North Temple neighborhood.”

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EPA sends $1.5M to help clean up blighted properties in Salt Lake County