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Could a COVID-19 Stimulus Package Include Measures to Support Community Redevelopment?

Andrea Hayden, Esq.

So far the $2 trillion COVID-19 federal stimulus package has focused on providing a patchwork safety net to keep small businesses and their employees afloat. Continued rumblings from D.C. suggest that there will be an additional outlay of federal assistance in the coming weeks, this time with some potential stimulus designed to support other areas of the economy that are heavily impacted by the coronavirus.

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Smart Growth America (SGA), an organization focused on building transit-oriented developments and brownfield revitalization, among other things, is recommending the inclusion of certain measures related to infrastructure investments and community development. SGA is hoping to bolster support for infrastructure and community revitalization programs to protect segments of the economy at risk and benefit local communities that are hard-hit by the COVID-19 shutdown, while also building a foundation for long-term recovery.

 

Brownfield funding is among these priorities. SGA is recommending renewing certain tax provisions related expensing of brownfield cleanup costs as well as  an additional $3 billion over five years for the EPA's brownfields grant program. The group also recommends unlocking $28 billion in Community Development Block Grant funding. SGA's recommendations come at a time when brownfield redevelopments in metro Detroit have slowed or scaled back significantly in the past few years due to increasing costs and decreasing funding sources. So if sunscreen manufacturers were successful in getting measures passed to address sunscreen ingredients in the last iteration of the COVID stimulus, it seems that  a thoughtful inclusion of funds designed to create healthy, thriving communities should make their way into the next package. 

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