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Henrico, Richmond Nab EPA Grant To Remediate Hazardous Property

Richmond city hall coated in snow. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Richmond and Henrico are getting a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help move potentially polluted properties closer to redevelopment.

Richmond and Henrico will partner with affordable housing non-profit project:HOMES on the grant. They’ll identify ‘brownfields’ near Richmond Highway, Commerce Road and Henrico Plaza. According to the EPA, brownfields are properties with a potential presence of toxic chemicals that prevent sale or repurposing. These can include places like former mechanic shops and industrial plants.

In a statement, the city of Richmond said the first step in the process will be to create a database of the properties to help in identifying and marketing

“This Brownfields assessment grant is crucial to moving our region forward by helping to encourage redevelopment, recruit businesses, create well-paying jobs and revitalize neighborhoods in the city of Richmond and Henrico County,” said Keisha Birchett, project development manager for the city.

In addition to creating a database of properties, the localities and nonprofit will work with owners to apply for additional federal grants to help pay for cleanup and prepare properties for redevelopment. The database will also be used to help market the properties to potential developers.

It’s unclear how many properties will be eligible for assistance under this grant and how much tax revenue these abandoned or underused properties represent. A spokesman for Richmond’s Department of Economic Development did not respond to multiple questions asked by VPM.

The inclusion of project:HOMES in the grant suggests Henrico and Richmond hope some properties could be redeveloped into affordable housing.