A metal scrap yard, a landfill and contaminated industrial sites will soon become hotels, office buildings and even a high tech silicon wafer factory because of $24.6 million in grants and nearly $119 million in loan guarantee assistance announced Thursday by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson.

The grant funding is provided through HUD’s Brownfields Economic Development Initiative to 17 communities and aim to stimulate nearly 7,000 jobs. In addition to the grant funding and loan guarantees, these abandoned, underutilized and contaminated areas will benefit from $49 million in other public and private investment, according to a press statement.

“Today we join local communities to make another investment in areas some may have forgotten,” said Jackson. “Together, we will not only breathe new life into these distressed areas, we will restore economic vitality in surrounding neighborhoods and create thousands of jobs for those who live there.”

Often perceived as unproductive eyesores in their communities, these brownfields hold tremendous potential as sites for community revitalization. Many of these brownfield sites are strategically located in or around key areas and were, in many cases, the economic centers of their communities. Redevelopment of these sites is both a challenge and an opportunity and returning them to productive use can serve as a catalyst for local economic recovery. Complex financial, legal and environmental risks and uncertainties are some of the biggest barriers to owners and developers.

Communities served by the HUD grants include Alameda, Alameda County, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Jose, Calif.; Attleboro, Mass.; Dutchess County, N.Y.; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; Allentown, Coatesville, E. Whiteland, Harrisburg, and Montgomery County, Pa.; and Seattle, Wash.

HUD is a federal agency that implements housing policy.

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