Tulsa has been selected by the Environmental Protection Agency as one of 144 communities nationwide to receive one of 221 brownfields environmental Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup grants totaling $54.3 million.
Tulsa’s grant is $300,000 for brownfields assessment along Route 66. A brownfield site is real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
“This grant is a tremendous opportunity for Tulsa and will continue our community’s investment along the Route 66 corridor,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “During the last several years, interest in Route 66 has grown, with more businesses wanting to locate on the historic Mother Road. This grant will help Tulsa take a proactive approach into converting brownfield sites to commercial and recreational spaces that will serve as economic engines along our Route 66 corridor.”
In preparation to receive this grant award, Tulsa began by creating an Area-Wide Brownfields Redevelopment Plan for the Route 66 corridor. Public meetings were held in August and October of 2017 to receive ideas and comments regarding locations of possible brownfields on Route 66 and which ones had the most potential for redevelopment. Using this planning information, Tulsa submitted its grant application in November 2017, and received notification from the EPA this week about the award.
Funds from this grant will be available beginning in October 2018. The grant will enable Tulsa to conduct assessments for hazardous substances and petroleum, and to prepare a cleanup plan.
The history of Route 66 presents both opportunities and challenges for redevelopment. From the highway’s beginnings in 1926, Route 66 has attracted automotive and industrial development such as gas stations, salvage yards and factories. These are among the oldest buildings in Tulsa, and many will need environmental remediation in order to be redeveloped for modern use.