$3.9 Million Grant for Rockford Brownfields Cleanup Projects

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) — A $3.9 million grant is giving Rockford a head start in revitalizing some of its most challenging properties.

“Communities in northwest and central Illinois are overwhelmed by abandoned commercial properties — many of which are so polluted that real estate development is not possible,” says Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17)

City leaders say the money will supplement the brownfields 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 is encouraging the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields, or abandoned land complicated by the potential presence of pollutants and contaminants. The RLF provides sub-grants and loans for projects focused on cleaning up complex sites. Loan repayments flow back into the RLF under an ongoing capital program earmarked for brownfields cleanup efforts.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara hopes the additional funds will keep the city on track with new cleanup and development projects. “For more than 20 years, Rockford’s RLF program has played an important role in cleaning up environmentally threatened properties, paving the way for substantial reinvestment in our urban core,” he said Tuesday.

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

“RLFs have been 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 planned redevelopment of the Barber Colman Campus. With this award, our RFL program will continue to benefit our community economically and improve the overall environmental health of our residents,” said McNamara.

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