The Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $600,000 grant to the Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning and Development Organization May 28 for its brownfield program, according to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The grant was from the EPA's Fiscal Year 2014 Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup program, according to Brown's office. The program funds the assessment and cleanup of suspected contaminated lands of former industrial and commercial properties so they can be redeveloped.

"These funds will help support cleanup and decontamination efforts critical to the safety and economic success of Summit County," Brown said.

The grant will be used to fund NEFCO's environmental site assessments of suspected contaminated land in Summit County, according to Sylvia Chinn-Levy, program manager for economic development for NEFCO, which serves Summit, Portage, Stark and Wayne counties.

Some of those properties include the Old School in Twinsburg, the former Edwin Shaw Hospital in Lakemore, as well as locations in Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and Richfield Village. At least two properties, one in south west Akron and one near the Cuyahoga River, will be used for redevelopment, Chinn-Levy said.

Brownfields are properties which are environmentally contaminated or suspected of being environmentally contaminated, due to buildings which have been constructed using asbestos, old medical facilities which used mercury, landfills with potential household appliances, oil drained into an area, underground storage tanks with oil, heating fuel and petroleum from former gas stations, Chinn-Levy said.

NEFCO partners with other Summit County agencies to help develop areas which may be in need or blighted due to a variety of reasons.

This is the second brownfield assessment grant received by NEFCO. The grants are spread over three years. The first was received in 2012.

For more on NEFCO's brownfield program, visit


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