EPA Region 7 Partners with Jennings, Missouri, to Redevelop West Florissant Business Corridor

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency News Release graphic

Jennings is one of 10 cities to receive technical assistance through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program

LENEXA, KAN. (MARCH 22, 2024) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that 10 communities will receive technical assistance through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.

EPA and these local communities will pursue development strategies that expand upon existing Brownfields efforts to advance clean air, clean water, equitable development, and other local goals.

Jennings, Missouri, a city of 13,000 in the St. Louis metropolitan area, is one of the communities selected to receive technical assistance through the Building Blocks program. During the roughly eight months of the technical assistance project, EPA staff and EPA-hired consultants will work with the community to develop a process and identify next steps for the community to achieve its goals.

“I am very excited to announce that Jennings, Missouri, will represent Region 7 as a selectee in this year’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “The Building Blocks program has been instrumental in transforming over 200 communities across our nation to improve public health, protect the environment, expand economic opportunity, and improve the overall quality of life of community members. I am looking forward to seeing the outcome of our work with Jennings!”

“Residents often share their memories of what that corridor once was – a pillar of the community, and a place where residents could get everything they needed,” said Jennings Economic Development Coordinator Anni Dineen. “This opportunity will equip us to restore the thriving aspects of the corridor in an equitable and sustainable way.”

Jennings officials, as outlined in their technical assistance application, plan to use the technical assistance project to transform the West Florissant Business Corridor into a safe, walkable, and thriving business district. The city will convene local, regional, state, and federal organizations to coordinate efforts to address commercial vacancies in Jennings and rebuild the corridor to work best for residents and business owners.

EPA’s Office of Community Revitalization selected communities through a targeted outreach effort, in partnership with EPA’s Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization and Regional offices across the U.S. This technical assistance will help communities:

  • Ensure that their development decisions address environmental justice concerns in underserved and overburdened communities.
  • Preserve their natural resources and community character, while allowing for economic growth.
  • Create vibrant, walkable, and revitalized neighborhoods.

In 2024, EPA staff will lead projects in 10 communities, including convening federal, state, regional, and local partners, and contractor support, for two-day in-person workshops. The projects will address development-oriented and equity issues on two topics: Planning for Equitable Development and Sustainable Strategies for Small Cities and Rural Communities.

“Many communities are looking to grow in ways that create economic opportunity and enhance quality of life, while also protecting the environment,” said EPA Associate Administrator for Policy Vicki Arroyo. “Our Building Blocks program provides assistance with proven development strategies to help communities plan for a healthier, more vibrant future.”

Since 2011, the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program has provided assistance to over 200 communities in 47 states. With this assistance, community groups, local governments, and tribal governments across the nation have increased their capacity to protect the environment, improve public health, expand economic opportunity, prepare for the effects of climate change, and improve overall quality of life.

Learn more about EPA Region 7

Contact Information: Jonathan Klusmeyer, 913-343-2991, [email protected]