The EPA has awarded $1.2 million for projects in a 15-county area of northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri. The money will be used to redevelop underused or abandoned properties, and to train residents and help them land environmental jobs.
The grants are being administered by the Mo-Kan Regional Council.
A revolving loan fund will of $1 million will help revitalize blighted sites that may contain hazardous waste or petroleum contamination. Executive Director Tom Bliss says there are nearly 400 eligible properties in the 15-county area.
The other $200,000 will provide approximately 40 residents with training and placement assistance for jobs in environmental careers.
“These jobs are typically higher-paying, more technical, and more long-lasting, so they’re very good employment opportunities for individuals in our 15-county area," says Bliss.
He says these jobs will help bring blighted properties back into productive use. That, in turn, will help strengthen the area’s tax base, and stem the loss of population that makes it difficult for businesses to succeed.
Bryan Thompson is a reporter for Kansas Public Radio.