The Greater Williamsburg Partnership (GWP) recently announced that the region received a $600,000 grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support brownfields assessment and redevelopment. GWP also named Draper Aden Associates (DAA), a Mid-Atlantic engineering, surveying, and environmental services firm based in Virginia, to manage the grant’s implementation.
“I commend the Greater Williamsburg Partnership for being selected for Brownfields funding in this year’s highly competitive national grants program,” said Cosmo Servidio, EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator. “Investing in communities is a priority for EPA. We look forward to the progress and redevelopment to come from this Williamsburg Regional collaboration.”
GWP will be responsible for administering and implementing the Community-Wide Brownfields Coalition Assessment Grant, which will identify and facilitate the adaptive reuse of existing properties.
An exceptional example of regional cooperation, the City of Williamsburg, James City County, and York County came together to form a regional partnership to collectively apply for the grant.
“This brownfields assessment grant represents the first-ever grant awarded by the EPA to the Greater Williamsburg area,” said Voncile “Von” Gilbreath, Director of GWP. “It will be crucial to moving our region forward by helping to encourage redevelopment, recruit businesses, create high wage jobs, and generate wealth for all citizens.”
GWP and the regional coalition will collaborate with public and private property owners to participate in this program. DAA, which has substantial expertise implementing brownfields grants, will manage the program process. This federal funding is dedicated to the assessment of sites potentially impacted by hazardous substances and will be used to develop a brownfields site inventory and database, conduct environmental site assessments, plan for potential site response, clean up and redevelopment actions, and community engagement.
“The true value of this grant will be exponentially greater because it will serve as a significant catalyst to help transform the Greater Williamsburg area,” said Sri Nathella, PE, Environmental Program Manager with DAA.
Among the initial priorities, the grant will allow the region to conduct environmental assessments in the
Edge area of the City of Williamsburg, the unincorporated community of Grove in James City County,
and the Lightfoot and Tabb Lakes (York County) area.
“Successfully competing for these EPA funds is a validation of the GWP’s cooperative effort created by
the three localities,” according to Steve Meade, Chair of the GWP. “Our three communities are separated
by political boundary lines,” said Meade, “but we are more strongly linked by our geography, common
interests, and plans to improve our three communities. We look forward to seeing the results of this
partnership and Draper Aden’s work to leverage this award.”
This grant was initially announced by EPA in July 2019 as part of $3.3 million in brownfields funding
benefitting seven Virginia communities.