Partnership Success: Monmouth Conservation Foundation Receives $500,000 EPA Grant for Landfill Revitalization
June 26, 2024

FHI Studio is thrilled to announce that the Monmouth Conservation Foundation (MCF) will be the recipient of a $500,000 Brownfield Community-Wide Assessment grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). FHI Studio wrote major sections of the grant application and was instrumental in identifying the grant as a potential opportunity. This grant is the culmination of years of collaboration between the Borough, MCF, FHI Studio, and VHB.

The former Red Bank Landfill sits next to a property that serves low-income seniors and is within a half mile of an elementary school and a small nature preserve. Remediation efforts were active in the early 2000s, but had stalled by 2016.

Former landfill site and future location of Sunset Park

In 2022, the Borough asked FHI Studio to develop a strategic plan for the site as part of the Borough’s Master Plan (led by our partners at BFJ Planning). The Borough was facing the prospect of having to pay penalties for failing to meet critical project deadlines and much of the knowledge about the site had been lost due to staff turnover.

The strategic plan included extensive research into the remediation history and robust stakeholder engagement. Among other benefits, this work helped to re-establish a working partnership between the Borough and Monmouth Conservation Foundation. With the two entities on board, FHI Studio collaborated with them to develop a strategy for pursuing both state Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Funds (HDSRF) and applying for the EPA grant. The plan included much background information and follow-up tasks that would ultimately be used in the EPA application.

Conceptual Plan for Sunset Park on the former landfill site. Source: T&M Associates

In 2023, MCF leveraged a private donation to contract local environmental consulting firm VHB to resume work at the landfill site. It also worked with FHI Studio and VHB to submit for the EPA community-wide assessment grant.

The announcement of the grant is a significant milestone towards the creation of a park on the subject site. The grant will help fill the gap between what the state will fund through HDSRF and the costs of completing the remediation planning work. It will also support efforts to engage the community in the process of planning for remediation and reuse.

The EPA grant announcement comes on the heels of MCF and the Borough of Red Bank entering a formal partnership in April 2024 to transform Red Bank’s former landfill into green, open space – further ensuring the project will come to fruition.