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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2004

Contact: Fred Mumford
(609) 984-1795

Palmyra Receives Grant to Fund Remedial Work at Brownfield Development Area
Funding Available for Municipal and Private Grants and Loans

(04/51) Palmyra - New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today presented a $684,767 grant to the Borough of Palmyra to spur brownfield redevelopment at 40 land parcels along Route 73. Commissioner Campbell designated the properties as part of a Brownfield Development Area in September to assist the borough in its plans to reuse the contaminated land.

"Our partnership with Palmyra in creating a Brownfield Development Area is accelerating the rebirth of sites like this old drive-in," said Commissioner Campbell. "The grant funding established by Governor McGreevey, coupled with common-sense reforms of the cleanup process, will transform abandoned and blighted sites like these into engines of economic growth."

"The HDSRF program has become a vital municipal tool for economic development in New Jersey," said Caren S. Franzini, New Jersey Economic Development Authority Chief Executive Officer (NJEDA). "The Palmyra redevelopment project is a wonderful example of how the state can provide the necessary resources to bring new life to contaminated, underutilized sites. By taking steps to reclaim Brownfield Development Areas, Palmyra is contributing to a cleaner environment, while creating additional opportunities for job creation and economic growth."

Last month, Governor James E. McGreevey made available an additional $45.8 million for brownfield redevelopment grants and loans through the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF) program when he signed Assembly Bill 2343 into law. The measure also provides an ongoing, stable source of $15 million to $20 million a year for future brownfield site investments-all without creating any new taxes.

DEP and the NJEDA administer the program to provide grants and low-interest loans to businesses, municipalities and homeowners for various remedial activities. Municipalities may apply for grants and loans up to $2 million per year for investigation and cleanup. Private parties required to perform remedial activities and individuals who want to conduct such actions voluntarily may qualify for loans up to $1 million per year if they are unable to obtain private funding.

"The HDSRF grant is the largest and most significant grant the Borough of Palmyra has ever received," said Palmyra Mayor John Gural. "Without these funds and other critical assistance from Commissioner Campbell and the DEP, and from NJEDA CEO Caren Franzini, returning the 190-acre brownfields site on Route 73 to productive use would not be possible. This grant represents a critical step in Palmyra's efforts to redevelop this area, which serves as a major gateway from Pennsylvania into our community, Burlington County and the State of New Jersey."

The Palmyra Brownfield Development Area along Route 73 accounts for approximately 190 acres that represent more than 15 percent of the borough's total land area. It is located adjacent to the 350-acre Palmyra Cove Nature Park along the Delaware River. The borough is discussing a mixed use for the Brownfield Development Area's properties that may include commercial, retail and recreational with a planned greenway along Route 73 and a greenbelt buffer along the boundary with the Palmyra Cove Nature Park and the Pennsauken Creek. Palmyra will use the grant to conduct soil and ground water testing at properties in the Brownfield Development Area.

Former and current uses of the properties include deposition of dredge spoils, a private landfill, a private airport, a sand and gravel mining operation, a munitions test area for the Philadelphia-based Frankford arsenal, gasoline service stations, used car dealerships, car repair shops and five residential units.

Across New Jersey, there are an estimated 10,000 brownfield sites-abandoned or underused industrial areas. Every acre of brownfields redevelopment spares up to 4.5 acres of open space from future development. Governor McGreevey has shown his commitment to bring new life to brownfield sites in other ways, including the signing of legislation in May 2003 to dedicate $40 million to the HDSRF when it was running out of money.

Another effort for brownfields is the creation of the Cleanup Star program, which will let qualified environmental consultants oversee the cleanup of less contaminated sites. The program will speed up the process and free up DEP to take on more brownfield sites. The first 200 Cleanup Star applicants were "graduated" in February. Due to the demand, DEP has scheduled another enrollment period this month.

DEP's Brownfield Development Area program works with selected communities impacted by multiple brownfield sites to coordinate remediation and reuse plans. Under this designation, all brownfield sites within a development area are assigned a single case manager, who coordinates with partnering state agencies to direct targeted technical and financial assistance to stimulate reuse. The plans are developed under the direction of a local steering committee with support from DEP.

 

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