$3.9 million grant for Rockford brownfield cleanup projects

City officials say incentives for complicated cleanup projects have big payoffs for the community.
Brownfields are abandoned properties hard to tackle due to possible on site contaminates or...
Brownfields are abandoned properties hard to tackle due to possible on site contaminates or pollutants.(WIFR)
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 5:09 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A $3.9 million grant gives Rockford a leg up on revitalizing some of its most challenging properties.

“Communities across Northwest and Central Illinois are burdened by abandoned commercial properties – many so polluted that property development isn’t possible,” says Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17)

City leaders say the money will supplement the Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund already in place through grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

With incentives through the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF), Rockford encourages cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields, or abandoned pieces of land complicated by the potential presence of pollutants and contaminants. The RLF furnishes subgrants and loans for projects focused on cleaning up complicated sites. Loan repayments cycle back into the RLF in an ongoing capitol program reserved for brownfield cleanup efforts.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara is hopeful that the extra funds will keep the city on track with new clean ups and development projects. “For over 20 years, Rockford’s RLF Program has played a significant role in cleaning up environmentally challenged properties, paving the way for substantial reinvestment in our urban core,” he said Tuesday.

When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community. These additional funds are being awarded because of the success the City has already demonstrated.

“RLFs were a major catalyst in the development of the $24.5 million UW Health Sports Factory, the $87.5 million Embassy Suites by Hilton Rockford Riverfront Hotel & Conference Center, and now the anticipated redevelopment of the Barber Colman campus. As a result of this award, our RLF program will continue to benefit our community economically and improve overall environmental health for our residents,” said McNamara.

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