Oil City, PA— The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism was selected as a 2022 Brownfields recipient for a $500,000 Assessment Grant.
In 2020, the ORA completed a Community Wide Assessment on several brownfield sites in the Allegheny-Clarion River Valley and a site in Oil City thanks to a $300,000 EPA grant. This next phase will fill in the gap between these sites by focusing on the Sugarcreek basin of the Allegheny River.
“As a Rural Development Hub Organization this award will enable the Alliance to continue to develop, assess, and work to implement this extremely important program in the Oil Heritage Region,” said John R. Phillips, II, ORA President and CEO. “These former industrial sites need to become once again an asset to the communities they are located in.”
According to the grant application prepared by ORA Redevelopment Manager Selina Pedi, the prosperity of this region once depended on the oil industry. Today, true prosperity and long-term resilience for the Oil Region includes the balanced development and use of the Allegheny River. With the support of an EPA Community Wide Assessment Grant, the ORA can continue its mission to equitably and strategically nurture the resources and opportunities along the river for the benefit of all who call this area home.
“The ORA’s brownfield redevelopment strategy is centered on strengthening our communities and providing accessible and equitable opportunities,” said Pedi.
The vision that first drove the ORA’s brownfield redevelopment strategy, of vibrant waterfront communities linked by history, water, and trail, has been validated and strengthened as new partners are added and new sites are selected for redevelopment. Community by community, the vision of revitalized, walkable and rideable town centers, accessible green spaces, and educational opportunities for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities, investment in sustainable and regenerative infrastructure and industry, and protection of natural resources now extends to new corners of the Oil Region National Heritage Area.
“We very much want to thank our partners at the Environmental Protection Agency for having the confidence in our expertise with this work,” said Phillips.
“We are so pleased to have the EPA as a partner as we continue to find, remediate, and work toward purposeful redevelopment of these sites, and we are committed to developing projects focused on resource sharing, entrepreneurship, and community amenity where everyone has a chance to be a part of the next wave of innovation for our region,” Pedi said.
Please read the “Redevelopment Works” column on this page for more information.