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ACRES Bulletin
June 2014

Showing Success in ACRES!

New York City’s High Line

“We like to think of the High Line as a mile-and-a-half-long recycling project. A former industrial structure given new life as a public green space, the High Line takes the idea of reuse to another level. ”   ~ Friends of High Line Park.

Once an elevated freight railway track, New York's High Line is now an oasis for pedestrians, made possible in part by a $200,000 Brownfields Cleanup Grant to the City of New York from the US EPA. Since opening in 2009, the High Line has become New York City's second most visited cultural venue, attracting some four million visitors a year. It is not just its incredible popularity that has developers and city officials talking about the High Line. It is also the positive effect it has had on land values and real estate prices in the area through which it passes. The success of High Line has influenced other similar projects, now underway in St. Louis, Philadelphia, Jersey City, Chicago, and Rotterdam.

The High Line is an elevated 1.5-mile long freight rail line on the west side of Manhattan that was constructed between 1929 and 1934. Originally part of the West Side Improvement Project, the High Line was an active railroad servicing the warehouses and terminals adjacent to the active waterfront industries in this section of Manhattan. It was used to carry meat to the meatpacking district, agricultural goods to the factories and warehouses of the industrial West Side, and mail to the Post Office until 1980. Between 1982 and 2005 the area fell into disuse. In June 2005, a Certificate of Interim Trail Use (CITU) was granted by the Federal Surface Transportation Board to convert the rail line to public open space in the Rails-to-Trails Program. The City of New York took title to the High Line from CSX Transportation, Inc. in November 2005.

The $200,000 Brownfields Cleanup Grant funded the remediation of contaminants, particularly lead paint, associated with the High Line's former use as a rail viaduct. Construction on the first phase of the High Line began in 2006. All existing surface material on the structure was removed, including gravel ballast, soil, debris and a layer of concrete, down to the steel and concrete structure. Then repairs to the steel and concrete were completed, new drainage and waterproofing installed, and the steel surfaces were sandblasted to remove the original lead paint. The final phase was the construction of the park landscape. The High Line landscape functions essentially like a green roof; porous pathways contain open joints, so water can drain between planks and water adjacent planting beds, cutting down on the amount of storm-water than runs off the site into the sewer system. Most of the High Line's plants are native species, and many were produced by local growers. The High Line's ecosystem provides food and shelter for a variety of wildlife species including native pollinators. Whenever possible, materials are purchased from businesses within a 100-mile radius, including some plants from the New York City Parks Department's Greenbelt Native Plant Center.

High Line is an example of an excellent return on investment. The EPA's initial $200,000 Brownfields Cleanup Grant to the City of New York contributed towards the following results:
  • Cleanup jobs leveraged: 29
  • Total acres cleaned up: 5
  • Cleanup leveraged funding: $14,300,000
  • Redevelopment leveraged funding: $33,267,000
  • TOTAL LEVERAGED FUNDING: $47,567,000.00
If you plan to visit New York City, consider swinging by High Line to enjoy the gardens, take a tour, grab a bite to eat or join in on one of the numerous planned events (http://www.thehighline.org/about/park-information).
The Highline
Photo Credit: http://www.thehighline.org


The Highline when under construction
Same area - during construction and after landscaping

The Highline image 2

The Highline image 3

The Highline image 4

News

2014 Brownfields Grants have been announced!

$67 Million in FY14 Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) Grants

In May, the 2014 ARC grants were announced. 171 communities will receive 264 ARC grants totaling $67 million in EPA brownfields funding. These funds can assist communities in returning sites to productive reuse, especially in under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods through the assessment and clean-up of abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

Since the inception of the EPA’s Brownfields Program in 1995, cumulative brownfield program investments have leveraged more than $21 billion from a variety of public and private sources for cleanup and redevelopment activities. This equates to an average of $17.79 leveraged per EPA brownfield dollar expended. These investments have resulted in more than 93,000 jobs leveraged nationwide.

$3.6 Million in FY14 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Grants to Provide Unemployed Residents with Training for Job Opportunities

The EPA has selected 18 grantees for the award of approximately $3.6 million through the EWDJT program. The grants fund training programs in local nonprofit organizations, community colleges, cities, states, tribes, and counties that provide unemployed and under-employed individuals with the comprehensive skills and certifications needed to enter full-time careers in the environmental field. The funding also supports job placement and recruitment activities. While each grantee will develop their own training curriculum, graduates of the program will be able to participate in activities such as: land remediation, recycling, wastewater treatment, underground storage tank removal, and emergency response related work in their respective communities.

Since the EWDJT program’s inception in 1998, the EPA has funded 239 job training grants totaling more than $50 million. More than 12,800 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 9,100 have secured employment in the environmental field.

Features in ACRES

Team ACRES is continually improving the system in ways both small and large. Some are transparent to our users and others provide improved reporting (often as a result of a user’s suggestion). Here are a few of the recent improvements:

For Project Officers:

Program Accomplishment Report (PAR)

This report has been improved to execute faster. Users will notice 2 new buttons at the bottom of the PAR page - one to generate the report as an Excel spreadsheet and a second to generate the report as a tree. For users who want to only print a spreadsheet (the Excel version), this saves considerable time.

Project Officer Home Page

A new column has been added to the “Regional Accomplishments for FY 14” table located at the top of the Home page. It lists counts/dollars for Pending Accomplishments for ALL Fiscal Years. Prior to this release, there was a column that listed pending accomplishment counts for the current fiscal year only. Because some properties were started in previous fiscal years, until they are completed, they are considered under the FY12 or FY13 draft FCA fiscal year. These accomplishments were not included in the pending accomplishment count which made it difficult to get a full picture of what is pending. The addition of the new column provides a more accurate view of the number of pending accomplishments that are not yet approved.

ACRES Project Officer Training Slides

A new training presentation, similar to those for new ACRES users and experienced ACRES users, has been added to the EPA's ACRES Information page under “Training & Tutorials”. A Quick Reference Guide (PDF) is planned for the near future with more detailed information including answers to typical questions posed to the Help Desk and tips on how to avoid common mistakes made by project officers.

If you have any suggestions for ways ACRES can make your job more effective, please let us know by contacting the ACRES Help Desk at ACRES_Help@epa.gov or (703) 284-8212.

Events & Training

Training Offered:

Getting Started (Beginners):
  For Assessment, RLF, Cleanup, and Section 128(a) Recipients just starting to use ACRES, this training will provide instruction on the process for submitting your property data and demonstrate how to use the tools and functions in ACRES. Approximately 90 minutes.

The Next Level (Advanced):
  For Assessment, RLF, Cleanup, and Section 128(a) Recipients that are familiar with using ACRES, this training will provide instruction on how to make ACRES work for you and your property scenarios, and the answers to some commonly asked questions. Approximately 90 minutes.

Online:
2014 ACRES Training Dates (2 pm EST) details
 
Getting Started (Beginners) — July 8
September 9
The Next Level (Advanced) — August 12
October 14

As governors and mayors, as CEOs and school teachers, and most of all, as parents, we have a moral obligation to ensure the world we leave behind is as safe, healthy, and vibrant as the one we inherited.

~ EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy ~

 

Redevelopment Outcomes

Here are the FY 2014 program goals as of 6/1/2014. With 4 months left in the fiscal year, we've made excellent progress to date.

GPRA GoalAnnual TargetFY14 Value (as of 6/1/14)

Properties w/Assessments Completed1,2001,369 
Properties w/Cleanups Completed120103 
Dollars Leveraged$1.2B$760M 
Jobs Leveraged5,00010,409 
Acres Ready for Reuse3,0004,946 

Frank's Tips

Frank Gardner is the Brownfields Coordinator and the Regional Data Coordinator at EPA Region 1. In this role, he works with recipients to help them report their activities and successes in ACRES. Frank Gardner

Who has had trouble logging in to ACRES lately? Who has seen the media articles on the Heartbleed computer virus? In simple terms, Heartbleed allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.

Like many other groups in charge of internet security, the folks at EPA’s Web Access Management (WAM) team had to take action recently to make sure that the Heartbleed security bug would not compromise any of EPA’s computer systems. Along with users of all WAM-based systems, ACRES users were prompted on May 9, 2014 to change their passwords. If users did not change their passwords within 7 days, then the WAM system automatically disabled their password and locked them out. The ACRES Help Desk has been fielding many calls from ACRES Cooperative Agreement Recipient (CAR) users to whom this has happened. If you receive the error message “your username cannot be found” when you log in to ACRES, you will need to reestablish your account. Here are the steps to take:
  1. Click on the “One Time Registration” link at the login screen. You’ll be sent to the EPA Web Application Access Self Registration page.
  2. Enter your contact information, a new password (twice for confirmation), select ACRES as the Community or Application, click the check box for EPA Privacy & Security Notice and then click the Submit Registration button.
  3. An email is immediately sent to the ACRES team and they will be able to grant you access very quickly.
  4. Once your login account has been reestablished, you will be synced back to your existing ACRES account.
If you have any questions or problems with reestablishing your account, please call the ACRES Help Desk at (703) 284-8212.

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