EPA on Friday gave $38 million to more than 90 communities to help them clean up polluted former industrial sites, called brownfields.
EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman said in a statement that the localities receiving the money could use it this year to preserve parks, playgrounds, trails, gardens, habitat restoration and other "greenspace" as well.
Regions typically use the program''s money to do initial work on a site, in hopes of attracting investors and developers that will do further work.
"These are critical start-up loans," said Cathy Milbourn, an EPA press spokesman, adding that the areas receiving the assessment and cleanup money were spread across the country.
"The EPA money doesn''t seem like a lot but banks feel better giving loans to developers if they know it''s an EPA brownfield site. When that seed money goes in it really spurs investors to support that," she said.
by Virginia Sutcliffe