In a significant win for the Capital City, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Trenton, NJ will receive nearly $2 million on behalf of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda in order to clean up a former industrial site in Trenton. This endeavor signals an advancement of environmental justice and restoration in the community. The initiative is funded through the largest-ever funding awarded in the history of the EPA’s Brownfields MARC Grant program, due in part to an unprecedented boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The City of Trenton will be utilizing this $1.99 million to clean up the former New Method Cleaner site. Throughout the property’s history, it has been utilized for a number of industrial or commercial purposes, most recently a dry-cleaning business. Ongoing efforts to improve this space have been occurring since 2013, when the EPA partnered with the city and state to remove drums containing hazardous materials. This also launched an investigation of the site under the Superfund removal program. While these initial investments made a marked improvement on immediate risks, the remaining volatile organic compounds (VOCs) still remain a detriment to the space’s soil and groundwater. As such, the property has remained vacant since 2015. Now, however, thanks to this funding, the city will have the capacity to clean up the site and involve input from the community in the process.
EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia stated, “What we see here today as a long-time vacant abandoned building will soon be a transformative community space—that’s environmental justice in action. This will make a real difference for people in Trenton. With this nearly $2 million grant, we’re increasing by a whopping 50 percent the total amount of brownfields funding Trenton has ever received. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has dramatically increased our ability to advance brownfields cleanups with big impacts in Trenton and other communities in the region.”
“I applaud this announcement that the City of Trenton will receive $2 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean up the New Method Cleaners site, and I am proud to have helped secure the support and funding necessary to ensure this brownfield site is reclaimed and restored for Trenton’s residents,” said Senator Menendez. “Historic investments like these are critical to delivering environmental justice for underserved communities and communities of color, and they help address the economic, social, and environmental challenges they face every day.”
“Communities across New Jersey, especially those with Black, Brown, and low-income populations, are harmed by contaminants, breathe in dirty air, and lack access to clean water,” said Senator Cory Booker. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which I was proud to vote for, communities are finally receiving the federal resources needed to rectify these environmental injustices. This federal funding will clean up this long-contaminated site and promote environmental and public health for Trenton residents.”
“As New Jersey’s sole member of the Appropriations Committee, I’m glad I could help bring home the necessary resources to help restore environmental health to our Capital city. I’m grateful for President Biden’s leadership through the Investing in America Agenda and its key provision of environmental justice. Rebuilding American infrastructure must include efforts like this to renew environmental health. Every American deserves to live in a safe and healthy community and partnerships between the EPA, the NJDEP, and local leaders like Mayor Gusciora will help deliver an environmentally healthy future,” said Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)
“Made possible by the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this enhanced funding to rehabilitate the New Method Cleaners site is an investment in the future of Trenton,” New Jersey Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said. “For too long, financial barriers have prevented cities such as Trenton, which have been historically overburdened by pollution and contamination, from transforming brownfields into sites of economic revitalization and, ultimately, commerce. I commend the Biden Administration, U.S. Rep. Watson Coleman, EPA Regional Administrator Garcia, Mayor Gusciora, and Urban Promise Trenton for their dedication in making the cleanup of this property a priority, ensuring that environmental justice is served in New Jersey.”
“This month, we received approval from the Trenton City Council to demolish this brownfields site. We are so thankful to Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Biden Administration for grant funding that will be utilized for the environmental remediation of this site,” said Mayor Reed Gusciora. “I am proud that we now have federal support that will breathe new life into this neighborhood, and, on behalf of the Capital City, we are so thankful for the EPA’s leadership and collaboration.”
This investment is aligned with President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, an initiative designed to grow the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out. Through this investment, the Biden administration hopes to fortify and rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, drive investment into clean energy, and create a manufacturing and industrial boom which creates accessible, well-paying jobs, all the while helping to combat climate change in the process.
This investment is particularly important for communities under economic distress, who often lack the investment and resources necessary to initiate cleanup and redevelopment projects. However, with proper investment and the right tools in place, communities will be empowered to repurpose these sites and promote economic and environment revitalization, job creation, and community transformation in the process.
Big changes are coming to the Capital City, and this cleanup is but the latest in Trenton’s continued transformation.