MANHATTAN — The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that the Center for Hazardous Substance Research at Kansas State University will receive a $23 million grant to expand its Technical Assistance to Brownfields, or TAB, program that works to revitalize environmentally distressed properties.
These properties, known as brownfields, are often underutilized or blighted pieces of land that are not chosen for redevelopment for a variety of reasons, including potential or real environmental contamination. The TAB program helps property owners, developers and community leaders create an economic or community development plan and find resources for addressing the environmental issues and implementing the reuses of those properties. In addition to local and state governments, TAB also provides support to all U.S. federally recognized tribes.
Blase Leven, director of the Center for Hazardous Substance Research, said this specific five-year grant represents a sizeable increase in funding that will allow the program to expand and complete more projects within its 21-state regional and national footprint, including Kansas and other states from the Great Plains, Rocky Mountain and Great Lakes regions. K-State is also the national lead for collaborating with five other named TAB providers that serve the western and eastern regions of the United States.
“The amount of funding now available to address environmental issues and achieve a community’s revitalization goals takes our work to a whole new level,” Leven said. “Projects that were previously too complicated or too big are now within reach for all types of communities. We look forward to seeing the positive changes in places and people’s lives that comes from this work.”
The TAB program operates through the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering and collaborates with a variety of K-State departments to achieve its goals, including the Tim Taylor Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional and Community Planning, as well as K-State Engineering Extension.
The program also works alongside 35 universities and contractors stationed throughout the region. TAB provides support in many ways, including the use of web-based tools, outreach events, one-on-one assistance, and evaluations of community and economic goals over time.
In addition to providing an environmental service, the projects also make a sizable economic impact by creating improved places for communities to live, work and play while empowering local governments to sustain the revitalization approach well into the future.