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ACRES Bulletin
August 2017

Showing Success in ACRES!

Emeryville getting commercial and affordable housing space

The City of Emeryville, California leveraged a $200,000 EPA Brownfields Cleanup grant to pave the way for $60 million in redevelopment of new, affordable housing along the Emeryville-Oakland border. The site was formerly an auto repair and machine shop; contaminants included VOCs and an underground storage tank. The area was cleaned up by removing 110 cubic yards of contaminated soil and it will contain a vapor intrusion barrier. This site will become 86 much-needed affordable housing units and 7,000 square feet of commercial space. The project will be built by nonprofit affordable housing developer EAH Housing and is designed with sustainability as an important factor.


Located close to transit, residents will get free transit passes, access to on-site car share services and bike parking. The buildings will have a solar voltaic system and a community garden will be available for all to enjoy. The city partnered with Cypress Mandela Training Center, a local workforce development organization and EPA grant recipient, to support hiring of local, disadvantaged adults in the cleanup of the property.


Construction on the new buildings began in July. The apartments and commercial space are expected to be occupied by happy new residents and commercial ventures by September 2019.


In the words of Emeryville Community Development Coordinator Amber Evans:

"It is remarkable to see the transformative nature of EPA's early investment in Emeryville, a small city left with the pervasive debilitating legacy of unregulated industrial uses, now known regionally as a retail and technology center of the San Francisco East Bay. EPA's partnership with the city, early and often, has resulted in a return on investment of 10-to-1, or more, on every project – the kind of smart investments we want for America, as we reinvent our obsolete infrastructure to meet the challenges of the 21st century."





Before: Auto Shop
Before: Machine shop and drum storage
Before: Drum Storage



Artist Rendering Housing & Development
After: Artist rendering of new mixed-use affordable housing and commercial development
Artist Rendering Housing & Development

Photos by City of Emeryville


City Of Emeryville Leveraged Funding Provided By:

AHSC and IIG/TOD Housing Dev/Transp Imp$7,900,000
Local Funding/ County Funding/Subsidized Housing$13,270,000
Loan/Equity/Subsidized Housing$40,185,000
Federal Home Loan Bank/Subsidized Housing$860,000
Total Leveraged Funding$62,215,000

News

Hazardous Materials Training and Research Institute's (HMTRI) annual All Grantee Meeting

EPA co-sponsored the Hazardous Materials Training and Research Institute's (HMTRI) annual All Grantee Meeting, which was held August 9th and 10th in Alexandria, VA. This meeting brought together current and prospective Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grantees from across the country, in addition to regional Job Training Coordinators and EPA HQ staff. Over the two days, sessions covered topics ranging from recruitment and retention of students, challenges encountered and lessons learned, OSHA refreshers, EJSCREEN, as well as an ACRES session. This annual meeting provided an invaluable opportunity for dialogue and information sharing on all things EWDJT. Meeting notes and presentations are shared on brownfields-toolbox.org a few weeks following the in-person meeting.

National Brownfields Training Conference

Please join us for the National Brownfields Training Conference in Pittsburgh, PA this coming December 5th – 7th. A full day of pre-conference training is also being offered on Monday, December 4th. Brownfields 2017 is the largest national event focused on brownfields redevelopment and sustainable communities. Thousands from the brownfields community come together over four days to share innovative ideas and learn the latest tools for the assessment, remediation and redevelopment of brownfields sites. Attendees come from all sectors including local, state and federal agencies, tribal governments, nonprofit community groups, academia, and industry consultants and developers. Registration is officially open, so please sign up at https://www.brownfields2017.org/. Spots are limited for certain training opportunities and mobile workshops so interested parties are encouraged to register soon!

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 All ACRES Users:
  • Team ACRES has begun analysis and development of ACRES, version 6.0. In the new version, users will be able to access ACRES easily from a multitude of devices including cell phones, tablets, as well as desktop/laptop computers. A user study gathered information on ACRES best points, its pain points, and also gathered improvements that folks would like to see.

    The new version will take time to complete and as a result there will be fewer updates to our existing Version 5.0. Problems and issues will be addressed and corrected, but new improvements will most likely be released in 6.0.

  • 2017 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Awards Announced

    The 2017 EWDJT Grant Fact Sheets were posted to the EPA web site on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. The EPA announced the selection of 14 grantees for approximately $2.8 million in EWDJT grants. Each grantee will receive funds to operate environmental job training programs that advance environmental justice by providing opportunities for residents living in areas impacted by contaminated lands. Trainees gain experience for jobs related to cleanup activities in their own communities.

  • 2017 Assessment and Cleanup (AC) Awards Announced

    The 2017 AC Grant Fact Sheets were posted to the EPA web site on Wednesday, May 31st. The EPA announced the selection of 166 communities who will receive 172 grants, for approximately $56.8 million in AC grants. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities through the assessment and cleanup of abandoned industrial and commercial properties and expand the ability of communities to recycle vacant and abandoned properties for new, productive reuses.

    To view the grant fact sheets, please go to: https://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/

  • Area-Wide Planning (AWP) Data Entry

    After using the new data entry page for several months, the following improvements were requested and have been made.

    • Project Area Information tab: the ACRES properties listed on the page have a link to their associated Property Home page. Users can quickly access the property to check data, for example, verifying that the leveraged funding isn't double counted as both property and AWP funding.
    • Project Area Information tab: users are no longer required to enter a catalyst site before the tab data is saved.
    • Redevelopment Site(s) tab: all ACRES properties and the non-ACRES catalyst/high priority sites display on the tab to collect redevelopment information. Previously, only sites marked as catalysts were displayed.
For Cooperative Agreement Recipients (CARs):
  • Property Profile Form (PPF) Start and Completion Dates

    The completion dates in the PPF Assessment, Cleanup and Redevelopment sections are required to be at least one day later than the associated start dates. If the same date is entered in both date fields, an error message will be displayed.
For Project Officers/EPA Users:
  • Program Accomplishment Report (PAR)

    Revisions have been made to better organize filter options on the PAR. The ARC, State & Tribal, and TBA grants (whose accomplishments count towards GPRA annual targets) are grouped at the top left side of the report selection page. The JT, Area-Wide Planning, and Showcase Community grant options (these grant types do not have GPRA targets) are grouped at the bottom of the selection page.

    The ability to include ARRA data has been added. On the right side of the report selection page, you have the option to select ARRA data only or to include ARRA data with other grant types already selected (ex. ARC).
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@usepa.onmicrosoft.com 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.

Job Training:
  For Job Training Recipients, this training will provide instruction on the process for submitting your Job Training data and demonstrate how to use the tools and functions in ACRES. Approximately 60 minutes.

Online:
  2017 ACRES Training Dates (2 pm EST)details

  Getting Started (Beginners)
 
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

  The Next Level (Advanced)
 
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

  Job Training
 
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

2017 National Brownfields Training Conference
  Pittsburg, PA, December 5 - 7, 2017





"Pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you. — Maya Angelou"


Redevelopment Outcomes

These are the program results for fiscal year 2017 as of July 1, 2017 (end of third quarter).
GPRA GoalGoalFY17
Qtr 3
% Goal
Complete
Properties with Assessments Completed

1,4001,19385%
Properties with Cleanups Completed

13011790%
Dollars Leveraged

$1.1B$1.126B102%
Jobs Leveraged

7,0004,88570%
Acres Ready for Reuse

5,5004,06374%
Properties Ready for Reuse

60041770%

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

Property Ps and Qs

The Brownfields program has benefitted over 30,000 properties since the beginning of the program, and every single one of them has its own property home page in ACRES. The property home pages are the foundation of all the important data that our recipients report into the system. While ACRES assigns a unique Property ID number to each property home page, the names and locations we assign to our properties are extremely important, since those are the first things members of the public will see when they search our Brownfields data in Cleanups In My Community and other public databases and GIS applications.

When naming a property, it is important to keep in mind a few principles, as the entry in the "Property Name" field will be the site name that will be visible to the entire public:
  • - Don't get personal – Please do not include a person's full name as part of the property name. Having sites called Ned Stark's Junkyard or the Jon Snow Site is an invasion of the individual's privacy and may give other reluctant property owners pause. Gaining access to key properties is already challenging enough for many of our grantees. Let's not make it more difficult.

  • - Don't be too technical – We have seen some entries where users have assigned very technical property reference numbers. Arcane names such as "Property R – SAND Tract G" or "Property U427468" may only be meaningful to the staff of the planning department and make it difficult for public users to make sense of our data.

  • - Don't be too generic – Generic names like "Gas Station" or "Dry Cleaners" don't add much value since they could apply to hundreds of sites across the country. Names with a little more specificity and local relevance like ACME Gas Station or Presto Dry Cleaners are preferred and more meaningful.

  • - Lose the "Former" – Some recipients tend to start their site names with the work "former", such as Former Acme Tanning or Former Acme Dry Cleaners. All of our properties are Brownfields based on the former use, so there really is no need to use the "F" word. Besides, it makes it hard to alphabetize our sites when many of the names start with F.

The good news is that the Property Name can be changed easily at any time, so don't feel like you need to pick the perfect site name before moving ahead on entering the rest of your data.

Ensuring we have accurate locations for our sites is also very important from a data quality perspective. Members of the community tend to know where nearby sites are located, so a site shown in ACRES at an incorrect location could undermine public confidence in our program. Historically, we experienced site location errors due to incorrect entries of latitude and longitude data. This issue has since been resolved with the advent of the address matching algorithms in the system. As long as a valid street address is input for the "Address Line 1" value, no latitude or longitude data need be entered. The "Address Line 2" value is for additional reference purposes and not used to calculate geographic location.

We still are seeing some sites being entered with invalid addresses which cannot be matched to an accurate geographic location. For example, an address like "off of Main Street" or "6 miles SE of junction of US122/311" will not result in an accurate site location. In cases like these, the user will need to disable the address matching function and manually locate the site. Luckily, the interface with Google Maps makes this a very simple task:
  1. From the data entry screen in Part 1 of the Property Profile Form, click the blue "Edit Fields" link to the right of the map.
  2. Check the "Ignore Address Validation" box
  3. Click and drag the red "pin" icon on the map to the correct location.
  4. Alternately, one could enter the latitude and longitude values if you have them handy, but most people find it much easier to just click-and-drag. If the lat/long entry option is used, make sure to use decimal format numbers, and remember the minus sign in front of the longitude. We don't want any more properties showing up in East Asia!

We hope this information helps CARs to keep entering all your properties at which assessment and cleanup activities are funded. Making sure we give our sites meaningful names and accurate locations will go a long way toward making sure the public knows and appreciates the investment we are making in their communities.

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