Meet with us to talk about your project! 

Schedule a time to meet with the program coordinator for this grant program to talk about the scoring criteria, funding opportunities and how your project fits in. Schedule a time here.

Tax Base Revitalization Account (TBRA)

Focus on building tax base and jobs

The Tax Base Revitalization Account (TBRA) provides $5 million annually to investigate and clean up brownfields — contaminated land, ground water, or buildings — for redevelopment. TBRA provides key support for a wide range of projects, from affordable and market rate multi‐family housing to commercial and industrial redevelopment.  

Announcements for 2024

 
2024 Brownfield Funding for Redevelopment in Minnesota Session

February 27th, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Webinar

Join us to learn about local public grants and loans that help pay the cost of cleaning up brownfields. Learn about the different sources of funding, eligibility and how to apply.
Learn more and register for the event here
Register

Successful TBRA applications support redevelopment that eliminates or reduces the risk from contamination, increase the tax base, and create or preserve jobs or affordable housing. There are three TBRA grant categories:  

  • Seeing Equitable Environmental Development (SEED) grants are intended for sites within equitable development areas, as determined by the Council, that show potential for job creation or housing development with or without a specific redevelopment project in progress, and are seeking public funding for site investigation, cleanup, or both.  
  • Site Investigation grants are intended for applicants that have a redevelopment site with suspected or perceived contamination and are seeking public funding to determine the scope and severity of the contamination and to develop a cleanup plan for a specific project.  
  • Cleanup grants are intended for applicants with projects that have recently completed their environmental site investigation or interior abatement assessment and are seeking public funding to assist with the cost of implementing a cleanup or abatement plan
See what was funded in each of the programs in the fall (2023).

  • None

Seeding Equitable Environmental Development (SEED) grants are intended for sites within equitable development areas, as determined by the Council. SEED grants are intended for sites with or without a specific development project underway, though they must show potential for future job growth or housing development. SEED grants can be used for site investigation or cleanup.   

  • Award Limits: $50,000 for investigation per project and up to 50% of amount total funding available for cleanup

  • Local Match: None

  • Application Limit: None   

  • Geographic restriction: Sites within areas with low building permit activity, low-wage job concentrations, and concentrations of people of color and low income households as determined by the Council. Projects must also be within a city enrolled as an LCA-participant city.   

  • Grant Terms: 2 years from date of award

  • Term extensions: None   

$250,000 total available each cycle

TBRA SEED Timeline

May 1
Spring applications due
July
Funding decision made by the Council
November 1
Fall applications due
January 2025
Funding decision made by the Council

TBRA SEED awards are intended for projects or sites within equitable development areas, as determined by the Council, that show potential for job creation or housing development. For the purpose of this grant type, use the Make-a-Map tool to ensure that the project is located within an equitable development area. To identify if a project is eligible for this grant category select the “Layers Tab” and select “SEED Grant Areas”

SEED Eligible Sites

Eligible Sites
Ineligible Sites
  • Sites must be within an equitable development area as determined by the Metropolitan Council AND  
  • Properties with contamination that is not safe for the intended future use according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) or the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for the intended use.
  • Properties that are publicly owned or privately owned that have the potential to*
    • increase the tax base and  
    • add or preserve jobs and/or 
    • add or preserve affordable housing
*After redevelopment is completed
  • An individual or organization likely responsible for the contamination has been identified and is also likely financially capable of carrying out the investigation or a cleanup.
  • TBRA funding is not needed for the redevelopment to proceed.   
  • Redevelopment proposals that will not generate property taxes or payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT/PLT). 
  • The application does not score at least 50% (35 points) of the total possible points (70 points) 
Applications may also be determined ineligible for funding if
  • adequate cleanup funding is available from other public and private sources. 
  • any part of a redevelopment site that will be funded by the State or Federal Superfund Program in the current or following fiscal year.  
  • the redevelopment site requires extensive new regional infrastructure beyond that which is already planned.   
  • the redevelopment concept is not consistent with the municipality’s comprehensive plan. 

SEED funding can help prepare a site for development on a contaminated site by providing information on the type, volume and location of contamination or a partial cleanup to attract redevelopment interest. SEED funding can also help pay the environmental costs of remediating a structure that requires the removal or added maintenance of hazardous building materials. 

SEED Eligible Activities

Eligible Activities
Ineligible Activities
  • Creating or updating environmental investigation* documents including 
    • Phase I environmental site assessment  
    • Phase II environmental site assessment work plans  
    • Phase II environmental site assessment  
    • Hazardous building materials assessment  
    • Abatement plans  
    • Asbestos emissions control plans (ECP)  
  • hazardous building materials abatement or mitigation (asbestos and/or lead-based paint only) ** including  
    • Abatement area containment  
    • Implementing asbestos emissions control plan  
    • Asbestos removal or encapsulation  
    • Lead-based paint removal or stabilization  
    • Loading, transport and disposal of asbestos and/or lead-based paint wastes  
  • For sites with an approved cleanup plan and developer site control:  
    • contaminated soil remediation   
    • groundwater remediation 
    • soil vapor mitigation  
  • limited demolition (as necessary to assess or access contamination only)  
  • environmental oversight
  • “Soft costs” such as   
    • administrative overhead,  
    • travel expenses,   
    • legal fees,   
    • bonds,   
    • insurance,   
    • permits,   
    • licenses or authorization fees,   
    • costs associated with preparing grant proposals or applications or bids,  
    • applicant project coordination costs, operating expenses, planning costs, and prorated lease and salary costs.  
  • non-hazardous wastes, such as household waste, construction debris and solid waste (e.g., old tires)  
  • regulated materials found in buildings, such as mercury in thermostats, oils in door closers, and other issues related to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems  
  • geotechnical costs  
  • managing excess clean soil  
  • construction costs  
  • costs for assessment or cleanup work outside of the redevelopment site (as identified in the application & cleanup plan) 

 
Costs associated with asbestos and lead-based paint abatement must be for activities that meet state standards established by the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as federal standards including Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.

*If an application is only for environmental investigation, costs incurred prior to award are not eligible for reimbursement with grant funds. Investigation work incurred within 180 days before the application submission deadline may be considered as matching funds. 

**If an application is primarily for abatement and includes some recently incurred investigation costs (within 180 days before the application submission deadline), the costs for the investigation work incurred included in a cleanup abatement grant request will only be reimbursed if the SEED applicant’s overall project is recommended for funding.   

Note: Costs associated with asbestos and lead-based paint abatement must be for activities that meet state standards established by the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as federal standards including Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.  

Additional Factors Affecting Cost Eligibility 
We will consider the following additional factors when reviewing costs to be paid using grant funds.  

  • We recommend applicants use separate line items when bidding work to be paid by grants to simplify the review of reimbursement requests if a grant is awarded.  

  • Contractor markups for subcontractor costs are eligible but limited to 10% or less.  

The Metropolitan Council will consider how well a proposed project will meet statutory requirements and regional development goals described in the Thrive MSP 2040 plan when awarding grants. Council staff will consult with external partners, including DEED, Hennepin and Ramsey County, the MPCA, and others when evaluating applications.  

The Council will rank SEED applications according to the extent they demonstrate the potential to incentivize following:  

SEED Scoring Table

Category
Criteria
Points

What: Proposed Project Outcomes

Tax Base
  • Increase the tax base OR potential to increase the city tax base from expected changes to the property classification OR the preferred land use in a current Request For Proposals for redevelopment
5
Jobs and Housing 
  • Potential to add or preserve living-wage jobs or affordable housing based on the proposed development OR existing land use designation and proximity to existing employment centers. 
5
Compact, Connected Development
  • Develop vacant lots or re-use vacant buildings
  • Potential to increase the use of transit and alternatives such as walking or biking
  • Interim use that increases visibility or improves marketability of the redevelopment opportunity
  • Demonstrate a market demand for the proposed redevelopment OR future redevelopment proposals
  • Potential to increase the intensity of land use based on the proposed development OR changes to existing site conditions, if any, and existing zoning designation
20
Environmental Impact
  • Identify or reduce risk to human health from suspected or known environmental contaminants, pollutants, hazardous substances or hazardous building materials and likely impact of risks particularly to vulnerable populations (e.g., infants, children and elderly) based on the current property use at or adjacent to the subject property
15
  • Potential to support equitable environmental protection based on project location and potential impact of exposure
6
 

How: Proposed Project Process

Process
  • Address a residential and/or workforce need that was identified by or with residents or workers most impacted by inequities
4
  • The city is taking steps toward addressing inequities at the local level, especially efforts to implement equitable development practices
3
 

Who: Proposed Project Team

 
Capacity
  • Project team’s capacity to begin an environmental investigation or cleanup 
  • The team demonstrates a need for public financing
  • The project team, including partners, represents the community the project will serve; or predevelopment activities will build a representative team 
  • Public applicant’s capacity to oversee environmental investigations or cleanup
12
 
Total 
70
Applications must score at least 35 of the total 70 available points

From the online Make-A-Map tool:

  • Overview Map  
  • Aerial Map  
  • Parcel Map 
Make-a-Map Instructions
  • Enter an address or landmark in the search bar to navigate to your project area. 

  • Click “Sketch the Project” and select “Tax Base Revitalization Account SEED” from the dropdown menu. Provide a name for your project. 

  • Use the zoom and pan buttons to navigate to your project site. Click “Sketch a Boundary” and, using the crosshair as a guide, draw the project boundary. A gray polygon with a red outline will begin to appear. Once you have finished outlining the boundary, double click to close the polygon. If there are multiple, non-contiguous parcels that are part of your project, you have the option of sketching another boundary. 

  • Select “Print” and “Create the maps”. The system will generate three maps for TBRA; a Parcel Map, Overview Map, and Aerial Map. Please be patient – depending on your connection, it can take up to one minute to generate the maps. 

  • Click each PDF to download them separately. 

Quality of Assessments and Cleanup Plans 
If contaminants are found and need to be cleaned up, RAP approval by the MPCA is required for future requests for cleanup funding once a redevelopment project is identified. Investigations of soil, ground water or soil vapor paid using grant funds must follow MPCA investigation guidelines and enroll in an MPCA voluntary program to ensure the quality of the site assessments.  

For more information on the investigation and RAP development process contact staff in the Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup (VIC) program, Petroleum Brownfields Program (PBP) at 651-296-6300. More RAP information is also available through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

If the investigation finds that an abatement is needed, future TBRA cleanup grant requests for abatement are limited to asbestos and lead-based paint. Future cleanup reimbursement requests for other hazardous or regulated materials are not eligible.  

Applicants that are applying for asbestos or lead-based paint cleanup must submit an assessment report that meets standards set by the Minnesota Department of Health For hazardous materials assessments, applicants must use contractors currently licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health.   

Hazardous materials assessments must include information regarding the   

  • Location, estimated quantity and condition of suspect asbestos-containing materials (ACM) based on analysis of bulk samples and/or lead-based paint (LBP) based on analysis of bulk samples and/or X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry  

  • Figures of samples identified on floor plans  

  • Classification of suspect ACM according to potential for damage, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) categories, and response action ratings  

  • For asbestos samples with an asbestos concentration of three percent or less, a quantitative analysis, commonly referred to as a "point count," is required for the assessment costs to be reimbursed using grant funding.  

Local Support 
Any application for funds under this program must include a resolution supporting the application from an eligible applicant. The resolution must confirm that the project would not occur through private or other public investment without Council funding. A sample resolution (Word document) and budget (Excel file) are available in the Applications Resources accordion on the Apply to LCA page

Recipients of all TBRA grants must submit progress reports for active grants.   

Recipients of Tax Base Revitalization Account SEED grants used for investigation must submit copies of the environmental reports generated using Council funding once they are complete along with approval of the response action plan by regulatory agencies.  

Recipients of Tax Base Revitalization Account SEED grants used for abatement or other cleanup must submit progress and annual reports. Semiannual progress reports are required during the grant term for active grants.   

When can I incur costs to be paid using SEED grant funding? 
To be eligible for grants, all eligible assessment or cleanup activities must occur after the grant award date but before the grant term ends.   

Projects that are awarded a SEED grant last for two years. (No grant extensions will be considered for SEED grants.) Investigations of soil or ground water to be reviewed by the MPCA Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup (VIC) program are required to submit a sampling work plan to VIC for review and comment prior to submitting a RAP to the MPCA.  

Exceptions    

  • Costs included in a cleanup/abatement grant request may include reimbursement for site investigation activities incurred up to 180 days before the date of application.  

How does the Metropolitan Council define ‘affordable housing’ for grant applicants? 
Affordable housing is defined as ownership or rental housing affordable to households earning 60% of the area median income (AMI) or less. Units must be affordable for 15 years or more.  You can find more information on housing affordability limits from the Metropolitan Council housing information

My site may be developed for housing. What are the ‘Fair Housing’ requirements? 
A Fair Housing Policy is a locally adopted policy that outlines the municipality’s obligations to address fair housing. Policies may include but aren’t limited to procedures for complaint identification and referral, designating a fair housing officer, and outlining internal and external actions the municipality will undertake to advance fair housing. More information about Fair Housing Policies is available in the Applications Resources accordion on the Apply to LCA page

Applicants for SEED funding on land guided as residential must have adopted a local Fair Housing Policy prior to the disbursement of LCA funds. (For more information about Metropolitan Council requirements on Fair Housing policies contact Maia Guerrero-Combs at maia.guerrero-combs@metc.state.mn.us or 651-602-1060.)  

  • New in 2024: grantees may now request up to $250,000 per city to conduct multiple site investigation over a 3-year period. Cost still require a 25% match and are limited to $50,000 maximum per redevelopment site. Project sites not known at the time of application may be added after a grant is awarded but must be identified before costs are incurred. 

Site Investigation grants are intended for redevelopment sites suspected or known to include contamination. They can help determine if contamination exists, what type of contamination is there, how much, and where it is located. They can also help inform how the contamination could affect redevelopment plans and the potential costs of cleanup.  
 

  • Award Limits: $50,000 per project; up to $250,000 per applicant for multiple sites within a Target Area. Grant funds will be available until expended on a first come first served basis
  • Local Match: 25%   
  • Application Limit: Applicants with an open grant for multi-site investigations with less than 80% of the funds awarded expended are ineligible to apply

  • Grant Terms: 1 Year (single site) 3 years (multi-site)(no extension) 

  •  Term extensions: None   

$500,000 per year

TBRA Site Investigation Timeline

May 1
Spring applications due
July
Funding decision made by the Council
November 1
Fall applications due
January 2025
Funding decision made by the Council

Eligible sites must have or be suspected of having contamination. The source of contamination, other financing available, and future use of the site may affect eligibility for grants.

Site Investigation Eligible Sites

Eligible Sites
Ineligible Sites
  • Properties with contamination that exceeds or is perceived to exceed safe standards set by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) or the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for the intended use.  
  • Publicly-owned or privately-owned property that will*: 
    • increase the tax base and  
    • add or preserve jobs and/or 
    • add or preserve affordable housing after redevelopment is completed
*After cleanup and construction
  • A party likely responsible for the contamination has been identified and is also likely financially capable of carrying out the investigation in the foreseeable future  

  • No known or suspected environmental contamination has been found and reported. 
  • TBRA funding is not needed in order for the redevelopment to proceed   
  • Redevelopment proposals that will not generate property taxes or payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT/PLT);  
  • The application does not score at least 50% (35 points) of the total possible points (70 points) 
  • Applications may also be determined ineligible for funding if
    • Individual project sites are not approved by the Council staff prior to incurring eligible costs. Changes to the eligible Target Area will require a grant amendment prior to incurring costs to be reimbursed for grant funds
    • adequate investigation funding is available from other public and private sources;   
    • any part of a redevelopment site that will be funded by the State or Federal Superfund Program in the current or following fiscal year  
    • the redevelopment requires extensive new regional infrastructure beyond that which is already planned  
    • the redevelopment is not consistent with the redevelopment component of the municipality’s comprehensive plan

TBRA funding can help pay the cost difference between building on a contaminated site and building on a clean site. TBRA funding can also help pay the environmental costs of adaptive reuse of an existing or obsolete structure that requires the removal or added maintenance of hazardous building materials.

Site Investigation Eligible Activities

Eligible Activities
Ineligible Activities
  • Creating or updating environmental investigation* documents including:
    • Phase I environmental site assessment  
    • Phase II environmental site assessment work plans  
    • Phase II environmental site assessment  
    • Hazardous building materials, asbestos or lead based paint assessments**
    • Development of a Response Action Plan***  
    • Abatement plans  
    • Asbestos emissions control plans (ECP)  
  • limited demolition (as necessary to assess contamination only)  
  • environmental oversight 
  • “soft costs” such as   
    • administrative overhead,  
    • travel expenses,   
    • legal fees,   
    • bonds,   
    • insurance,   
    • permits,   
    • licenses or authorization fees,   
    • costs associated with preparing grant proposals or applications or bids,  
    • applicant’s project coordination costs, operating expenses, planning costs, and prorated lease and salary costs.  
  • cleanup or abatement costs  
  • construction costs (e.g., geotechnical or structural assessments)  
  • costs for environmental assessments outside of the redevelopment site or Target Area (as identified in the application).

* The costs for the investigation work incurred within 180 days before the application submission deadline may be considered as matching funds.   
** Costs associated with asbestos and lead-based paint assessments must meet state standards established by the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as federal standards including Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.  
** *Response Action Plan (RAP) - and amendments, if any - must be submitted to the MPCA or MDA for the redevelopment being proposed.   

Additional Factors Affecting Future Grant Cost Eligibility  
The Council considers the following additional factors when reviewing future costs to be paid using grant funds.  

  • In order to minimize the amount of funds needed to replace contaminated soils, applicants are encouraged to design and implement projects in a way that minimizes the amount of backfill needed to replace the contaminated soils (e.g. underground parking, basements). Any underground use must be consistent with the approved RAP.  

  • Future mitigation costs associated with soil vapor mitigation must be based on data provided that shows soil vapors are over 33 times the MPCA intrusion screening value thresholds.  

  • Contractor markups for subcontractor costs are eligible but limited to 10% or less. 

The Metropolitan Council will consider how well a proposed project will meet statutory requirements and regional development goals described in the Thrive MSP 2040 plan when awarding grants. Council staff will consult with external partners, including DEED, Hennepin and Ramsey County, the MPCA, and others when evaluating applications.  

The Council will rank investigation applications according to the extent they demonstrate the following

Site Investigation Scoring Table

Category
Criteria
Points

What: Proposed Project Outcomes

Tax Base
  • Increase to the city tax base
5
Jobs and Housing
  • Build or preserve affordable housing with priority given to projects that serve residents who have barriers finding safe, affordable housing or new housing units affordable to households with incomes at or below 30% of the area median income. 
  • Create or preserve long-term job opportunities with priority given to projects with living-wage jobs
5
Compact, Connected Development
  • Develop vacant lots or re-use vacant buildings
  • Increase the use of transit and alternatives such as walking or biking
  • Support efficient growth in the region by increasing density and intensity through redevelopment
15
  • Demonstrate a market demand for future redevelopment proposals
5
Environmental Impact
  • Investigate contaminated sites with the greatest potential to improve the environment and reduce risk to human health
12
  • Potential to support equitable environmental protection based on project location and potential impact of exposure
6
 

How: Proposed Project Process

Process
  • Address a residential and/or workforce need that was identified by or with residents or workers most impacted by inequities
4
  • The city is taking steps toward addressing racial and other inequities at the local level, especially efforts to implement equitable development practices
3
 

Who: Proposed Project Team

 
Capacity
  • Project team’s capacity to begin an environmental investigation and commit sources for required matching fund contribution
  • The team demonstrates a need for public financing
  • The project team, including partners, is designed to reflect and be responsive to those underrepresented and most impacted by the project; or the predevelopment activities will seek to build such partnerships in a meaningful way
  • Demonstrate public applicant’s capacity to oversee environmental investigations
15
 
Total 
70
Applications must score at least 35 of the total 70 available points

From the online Make-A-Map tool:

  • Overview Map  
  • Aerial Map  
  • Parcel Map 
Make-a-Map Instructions
  • Enter an address or landmark in the search bar to navigate to your project area. 

  • Click “Sketch the Project” and select “Tax Base Revitalization Account” from the dropdown menu. Provide a name for your project. 

  • Use the zoom and pan buttons to navigate to your project site. Click “Sketch a Boundary” and, using the crosshair as a guide, draw the project boundary. A gray polygon with a red outline will begin to appear. Once you have finished outlining the boundary, double click to close the polygon. If there are multiple, non-contiguous parcels that are part of your project, you have the option of sketching another boundary. 

  • Select “Print” and “Create the maps”. The system will generate three maps for TBRA; a Parcel Map, Overview Map, and Aerial Map. Please be patient – depending on your connection, it can take up to one minute to generate the maps. 

  • Click each PDF to download them separately. 

Quality Site Assessments 
If contaminants are found and need to be cleaned up, RAP approval by the PCA is required for future applications for cleanup funding. Investigations of soil, ground water or soil vapor paid using grant funds must follow MPCA investigation and RAP development guidelines and enroll in an MPCA voluntary program to ensure the quality of the environmental site assessments. 

For more information on the investigation and RAP development process contact staff in the Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup (VIC) program Petroleum Brownfields Program (PBP) at 651-296-6300. More RAP information is also available through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

More RAP information is also available from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Brownfields programs

For hazardous materials assessments, applicants must use contractors currently licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health. Hazardous materials assessments must include information regarding the   

  • Location, estimated quantity and condition of suspect asbestos-containing materials (ACM) based on analysis of bulk samples and/or lead-based paint (LBP) based on analysis of bulk samples and/or X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry  

  • Figures of samples identified on floor plans  

  • Classification of suspect ACM according to potential for damage, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) categories, and response action ratings  

  • For asbestos samples with an asbestos concentration of three percent or less, a quantitative analysis, commonly referred to as a "point count," is required for the assessment costs to be reimbursed using grant funding. 

If the investigation finds that a cleanup is needed, future TBRA cleanup grant requests for abatement are limited to asbestos and lead-based paint. Future cleanup reimbursement for other hazardous or regulated materials is not eligible.  

Local Support 
Any application for funds under this program must include a resolution supporting the application from the local unit of government within which the proposed project is located. The resolution must confirm that the project would not occur through private or other public investment without Council funding. A sample resolution (Word document) and budget (Excel file) are available in the Applications Resources accordion on the Apply to LCA page

Recipients of all TBRA grants must submit progress reports for active grants.  

Recipients of Tax Base Revitalization Account Investigation grants must submit copies of the environmental reports generated using Council funding once they are complete along with approval of response action plans by regulatory agencies.  

Why is the Metropolitan Council proposing a pilot scattered site investigation grant program?
We have been told that although site investigations can provide helpful information when starting a redevelopment, the grants usually aren’t available during the short due diligence period when the grants would be most useful. The grants have been offered twice a year in May and November. The state statute guiding the distribution of TBRA grants does not allow us to award grants on a rolling basis. To improve the usefulness and more quickly respond to ongoing needs of developers and city partners, we are proposing allowing grantees to ask for more funding up front to be used as needed throughout the grant term.

What type of environmental investigation costs will the grant reimburse?  
Investigation funding is intended to help properties understand the type, extent and costs related to contamination that are barriers to redevelopment. Grants can be used to pay for the cost of completing a Phase I or Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, a Hazardous Materials Assessment, an Asbestos or Lead-based Paint Survey or Abatement Plan or plan for cleaning up identified contaminants often called a Response Action Plan or RAP.

Who could benefit from allowing applicants to ask for scattered site environmental investigation grants?
A potential beneficiary of this pilot program could be entities that own multiple developable sites, including municipalities, non-profit organizations and major for-profit developers. Other beneficiaries could be cities that receive several requests for help determining if properties throughout the city have environmental concerns limiting or preventing redevelopment. Or cities with larger redevelopment sites (e.g., 30+ acres) that will be built by different developers over in phases over the next three years.

The application will require a Target Area. How big can the Target Area be?
A Target Area could potentially be as large as an entire city or it could be smaller areas like a large redevelopment site, a higher volume transportation corridor, or a business district. (Grant selection will prioritize specific Target Areas that demonstrate evidence of need for the grants and short-term redevelopment interest.)

Can I identify more than one Target Area in a single grant request?
Yes, you can list more than one area in a city as a Target Area.

Can I ask for more than one investigation grant for sites in my city?
Yes, but we will limit the total awarded for all investigation grants in a single city to $250,000 or less.

Can I ask for a scattered site investigation grant without a project site?
No. You must identify at least one property that has redevelopment potential and needs the type of information provided in an environmental site assessment. However, you can ask for additional funding for sites that will be identified after the grant is awarded but before the grant term ends.

I’m not sure exactly how much the environmental site investigation will cost. How much should I ask for?
An environmental engineer can help you estimate some average costs for site investigation activities. You can ask for up to $250,000 in a single city but costs are still limited to $50,000 per site redevelopment site. Note, applicants are required to pay 25% in matching costs.

I am thinking about requesting funding to help do some environmental investigation on several sites. I know the maximum is $50,000 for environmental investigation on a single site but what if I don’t think I will need that much for each site? Can I spend less on one site and more on another?
Yes. If you ask for funding for multiple sites, you could spend less on some sites (e.g., Phase I ESAs) and more on other sites (e.g., Phase II ESA and RAP development). However, we will only reimburse up to $50,000 per redevelopment site. For example, if a city received a $250,000 investigation grant, the city could spend up to $50,000 per site investigating 5 sites or $25,000 per site investigating 10 sites. Or request $80,000 to investigate 2 sites, spending $50,000 on one that seems more ready to redevelop and $30,000 on another seems less ready to proceed with a future cleanup.

I only know one redevelopment site that would benefit from a site investigation? Can I still apply for a grant?
Yes, you can still apply for up to $50,000 in TBRA funding to investigate a single property if that is all you need. (Fill out the same form but list only one site in your request.)

The Metropolitan Council is offering up to $500,000 for environmental investigation in 2024. Will you offer the funding in the spring (May) and the fall (November)?
We will offer all $500,000 in the spring. If there is funding remaining, we will offer the rest in the fall.

I see the grant term is 3 years for investigation requests with multiple sites. What happens if I don’t spend all the funding before the 3-year term is finished? Can I get an extension?
No. You have up to 3 years to spend the grant. If you don’t think you will spend that much, consider asking for less. If you have unspent funding left over, it will be relinquished and used for future investigation or cleanup grants.

Can I spend the funding on any property in the city?
Most properties, yes, but not all of them. You will need to tell us which property you would like to investigate before spending any of grant on that site. We will check if the property meets our basic program eligibility rules such as properties that are not part of a Superfund site, or have a viable responsible party for the contamination, or properties that will be used for tax-exempt purposes in the future. We will provide a short form for you to tell us about the property so we can quickly confirm the eligibility of the site.

I would like to request funding for multiple environmental investigation sites. Does each property need to be owned by the same entity?
No. A multi-site grant may be requested for 2 or more sites with separate ownership. The properties could also be owned by the same “parent” entity. The grants would be coordinated, as they are now, through a single grantee: the public applicant – usually a city or a public development authority –  that re-allocates the funding to individual properties.

My lender tells me I need a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment to sell or buy a property. Can you pay for it with a scattered site investigation grant?
No. The grant program is intended for properties that will be redeveloped in ways that increase the tax base, add jobs, or add affordable housing. The grant funds are not intended for sales of properties that are not intended to be redeveloped.

Can investigation grants be used on publicly-owned property that will be sold to the public?
Yes, but only if there is some other type of significant investment in the redevelopment of the property prior to the expected sale of the property.

If my city is awarded an investigation grant in the spring, can I apply for another in the fall?
Maybe. The city must spend at least 80% of the funding from the grant it already has before asking for another investigation grant. If the funding has been spent and there is still funding available to award in the fall, the city can submit another grant request. (We will consider the overall distribution of funding to all applicants that year when reviewing the request.)

When can I incur costs to be paid using grant funding? 
To be eligible for grants, all eligible investigation activities must occur after the grant award date but before the grant term ends (one year). No grant extensions will be considered. Projects that are awarded an investigation grant for soil or ground water investigations under review by the MPCA Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup (VIC) program are required to submit a sampling work plan to VIC for review and comment prior to submitting a RAP to the MPCA.  

Exceptions  

  • Investigation costs for eligible site investigation activities incurred up to 180 days before the date of application may be included to meet matching fund requirement.  

What is required as match?  
Matching funds are required for Investigation grants. The applicant or other public or private partner must pay for at least 25% of the total estimated investigation costs as a local match. Matching costs may include eligible investigation activities incurred up to 180 days prior to the date of application.  

How does the Metropolitan Council define ‘affordable housing’ for grant applicants? 
Affordable housing is defined as ownership or rental housing affordable to households earning 60% of the area median income (AMI) or less. Units must be affordable for 15 years or more.  You can find more information on housing affordability limits from the Metropolitan Council housing information

My site may be developed for housing. What are the ‘Fair Housing’ requirements? 
A Fair Housing Policy is a locally adopted policy that outlines the municipality’s obligations to address fair housing. Policies may include but aren’t limited to procedures for complaint identification and referral, designating a fair housing officer, and outlining internal and external actions the municipality will undertake to advance fair housing. More information about Fair Housing Policies is available in the Applications Resources accordion on the Apply to LCA page

All applicants proposing to build or renovate housing that receive a Livable Communities Act grant must have adopted a Fair Housing Policy prior to the disbursement of LCA funds. (For more information about Metropolitan Council requirements on Fair Housing policies contact Maia Guerrero-Combs at maia.guerrero-combs@metc.state.mn.us or 651-602-1060.)  

My project will include housing. Are there requirements for marketing the housing? 
Yes. All proposed redevelopments that include housing – market-rate or affordable – must have an affirmative fair housing marketing plan in place before offering the units for rent or for sale. See the following example of typical considerations to include in a marketing plan: Minnesota Housing Sample Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan. For additional information see the Affirmative Marketing Toolkit

  • None

Cleanup grants are intended for applicants with projects that have recently completed their environmental site investigation and are seeking public funding to assist with the cost of implementing a cleanup plan for eligible activities and beginning construction on a specific redevelopment project.   

  • Award Limits: 50% of total available funding per city and no more than 75% of total available funding within Minneapolis and St. Paul (Limits apply to the sum total of all requests from a single geography which may include one or more projects.)  

  • Local Match: None   

  • Application Limit: None  

  • Geographic restriction: Projects must also be within a city enrolled as an LCA-participant city.   

  • Grant Terms: 3 years from date of award   

  • Term extensions: up to 2 years

$2,250,000 is available in each round. The award limits are 50% of total available funding per city and no more than 75% of total available funding within Minneapolis and St. Paul (these limits are inclusive of all TBRA programs). 

TBRA Cleanup Timeline

May 1
Spring applications due
July
Funding decision made by the Council
November 1
Fall applications due
January 2025
Funding decision made by the Council

Cleanup grants are intended for redevelopment sites that have documented the type, location and severity of contamination but need public support to make the redevelopment financially viable.  The source of contamination, other financing available, and future use of the site may affect eligibility for grants.

Cleanup Eligible Sites

Eligible Sites
Ineligible Sites
  • Properties with contamination that is not safe for the intended future use according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) or the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
  • Properties that are publicly-owned or privately-owned that will  *
    • increase the tax base and 
    • add or preserve jobs and/or  
    • add or preserve affordable housing  
  • Total cleanup costs are over 1% of the total development cost excluding the cost of site acquisition. 
*After redevelopment is completed
  • A responsible party has been identified and is also likely financially capable of carrying out the cleanup.  
  • TBRA funding is not needed for the redevelopment to proceed;   
  • Total cleanup costs are equal to one percent or less than the total project development costs excluding the cost of site acquisition.   
  • Redevelopment proposals that will not generate property taxes or payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT/PLT).
  • The application does not score at least 50% (75 points) of the total possible points (150 points) 
Applications may also be determined ineligible for funding if
  • adequate cleanup funding is available from other public and private sources;   
  • any part of a redevelopment site that will be funded by the State or Federal Superfund Program in the current or following fiscal year  
  • the redevelopment requires extensive new regional infrastructure beyond that which is already planned   
  • the redevelopment is not consistent with the redevelopment component of the municipality’s comprehensive plan  

TBRA funding can help pay the cost difference between building on a contaminated site and building on a clean site. TBRA funding can also help pay the environmental costs of adaptive reuse of an existing or obsolete structure that requires the removal or added maintenance of hazardous building materials. 

Cleanup Eligible Activities

Eligible Activities
Ineligible Activities
  • recently completed site investigation activities*  
    • Phase I environmental site assessment  
    • Phase II environmental site assessment work plans  
    • Phase II environmental site assessment  
    • Hazardous building materials assessment  
    • Development of a Response Action Plan  
    • Abatement plans  
    • Asbestos emissions control plans (ECP)  
  • contaminated soil remediation**
  • groundwater remediation**
  • soil vapor mitigation**
  • hazardous building materials abatement or mitigation (asbestos and/or lead-based paint only) *** including  
    • Abatement area containment  
    • Implementing asbestos emissions control plan  
    • Asbestos removal or encapsulation  
    • Lead-based paint removal or stabilization  
    • Loading, transport and disposal of asbestos and/or lead-based paint wastes  
    • limited demolition (as necessary to access contamination only)  
  • environmental oversight
  • “soft costs” such as   
    • administrative overhead
    • travel expenses
    • legal fees
    • bonds
    • insurance
    • permits
    • licenses or authorization fees
    • costs associated with preparing grant proposals or applications or bids
    • applicant project coordination costs, operating expenses, planning costs, and prorated lease and salary costs
  • non-hazardous wastes, such as household waste, construction debris and solid waste (e.g., old tires)  
  • regulated materials found in buildings, such as mercury in thermostats, oils in door closers, and other issues related to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems  
  • geotechnical costs  
  • managing excess clean soil  
  • construction costs  
  • costs for work outside of the redevelopment site (as identified in the application & cleanup plan)

*  The costs for the investigation work incurred included in a contamination cleanup grant request will only be reimbursed if the TBRA applicant’s overall project is recommended for funding. Investigation costs must be incurred within 180 days prior to the application date or later to be eligible for consideration.

**  Costs must be for activities included in a Response Action Plan (RAP) - and amendments, if any - approved by the MPCA or MDA for the redevelopment being proposed. (Projects working with the Voluntary Investigation Cleanup (VIC) Program and/or the Petroleum Brownfields Program (PBP) should start early. The MPCA requires a minimum of 45 working days before the TBRA application deadline to respond to a request for approval in time to apply for a grant.)  

***  Costs associated with asbestos and lead-based paint abatement must be for activities that meet state standards established by the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as federal standards including Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.  

Additional Factors Affecting Cost Eligibility 

We will consider the following additional factors when reviewing costs to be paid using grant funds.  

  • Eligible activities for contaminated soil remediation include excavation, transportation, disposal fees for removal of contaminated soil conducted according to the RAP submitted with the application. 

  • The costs for replacing contaminated fill with clean back fill and grading of clean soil are eligible as long as the volume of clean soil added matches the volume of contaminated soil removed.  

  • To minimize the amount of funds needed to replace contaminated soils, applicants are encouraged to design and implement projects in a way that minimizes the amount of backfill needed to replace the contaminated soils (e.g., underground parking, basements). Any underground use must be consistent with the approved RAP.

  • Costs associated with soil vapor mitigation must be based on data provided that shows soil vapors are over 33 times the MPCA intrusion screening value thresholds.  

  • Actions documenting environmental monitoring systems or the successful implementation of a RAP such as technical writing are eligible for reimbursement.  

  • We recommend applicants use separate line items when bidding work to be paid by grants to simplify the review of reimbursement requests if a grant is awarded.  

  • Contractor markups for subcontractor costs are eligible but limited to 10% or less.  

The Metropolitan Council will consider how well a proposed project will meet statutory requirements and regional development goals described in the Thrive MSP 2040 plan when awarding grants. Council staff will consult with external partners, including DEED, Hennepin and Ramsey County, the MPCA, and others when evaluating applications.  

 The Council will rank cleanup applications according to the extent they demonstrate the following
 

Cleanup Scoring Table

Category
Criteria
Points

What: Proposed Project Outcomes

Tax Base
  • Increase to the city tax base 
  • Add tax revenue in the near term. 
    (Projects not in or not expected to be in a Tax Increment Finance district(s) earns 5 points because all the affected tax jurisdictions benefit after construction is complete.) 
25
Jobs and Housing
  • Build new affordable housing that helps the city meet their share of the region’s need for affordable housing built between 2020-2030. Priority will be given to new housing units affordable to households with incomes at or below 30% of the area median income (AMI) in census tracts with the most households spending more than a third of their income on housing costs before considering units affordable at other levels of AMI up to 60%. OR 
    Preserve and rehabilitate affordable housing, prioritizing cities at highest risk of losing Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) and/or cities with higher rates of housing cost burdened households AND 
    Build or preserve affordable housing with priority given to populations not currently served by the local housing market with priority given to housing for previously unhoused individuals, individuals with disabilities and housing developed with on-site supportive social services. 

  • Add or preserve long-term job opportunities with priority given to projects with living wage jobs
  • Add jobs in priority high-growth and high-opportunity sectors of the region’s economy for industry sectors that have demonstrated significant growth in recent years compared with the nation as a whole; and/or advance city job growth priorities identified in a public economic development strategy 
  • Increase long-term living-wage jobs in a qualified Seeding Equitable Environmental Development (SEED) eligible area
25
Compact, Connected Development
  • Support efficient growth in the region through adaptive reuse, infill development or redevelopment
  • Increase the use of transit and alternatives such as walking or biking
20
  • Demonstrate a market demand for future redevelopment proposals
5
Environment and Livability
  • Cleanup contaminated sites with the greatest potential to improve the environment and reduce risk to human health
25
  • Improve access to local and regional parks and trails through outreach, site design, or programming 
  • Conserve vital existing regional natural resources features and functions 
  • Conserve, restore or protect the region’s water resources through environmentally sound opportunities for recharging groundwater with best management practices for stormwater 
  • Commitment to resilient energy infrastructure using renewable and/or district energy sources
  • Increase job opportunities within micro-enterprises, worker-owned businesses, or other business models that support wealth creation 
  • Support equitable environmental protection for projects in areas most impacted by prior contaminants, pollutants, or hazardous substance that reduce the potential impact of exposure 
20
 

How: Proposed Project Process

Process
  • Address a residential and/or workforce need that was identified by or with residents or workers most impacted by racial or other disparities
10
  • The city is taking steps toward addressing inequities at the local level, especially efforts to implement equitable development practices
4
 

Who: Proposed Project Team

 
Capacity
  • Demonstrate public applicant’s capacity to oversee environmental cleanups
  • The team can demonstrate a need for public financing
  • The project team, including partners represents the community the project will serve; or predevelopment activities will build a representative team
  • Project team’s readiness to proceed with project site cleanup and construction
16
 
Total 
150
Applications must score at least 75 of the total 150 available points

From the online Make-A-Map tool:

  • Overview Map  
  • Aerial Map  
  • Parcel Map 
Make-a-Map Instructions
  • Enter an address or landmark in the search bar to navigate to your project area. 

  • Click “Sketch the Project” and select “Tax Base Revitalization Account” from the dropdown menu. Provide a name for your project. 

  • Use the zoom and pan buttons to navigate to your project site. Click “Sketch a Boundary” and, using the crosshair as a guide, draw the project boundary. A gray polygon with a red outline will begin to appear. Once you have finished outlining the boundary, double click to close the polygon. If there are multiple, non-contiguous parcels that are part of your project, you have the option of sketching another boundary. 

  • Select “Print” and “Create the maps”. The system will generate three maps for TBRA; a Parcel Map, Overview Map, and Aerial Map. Please be patient – depending on your connection, it can take up to one minute to generate the maps. 

  • Click each PDF to download them separately. See “Saving Documents” as a reminder for how to name each of the three Make-a-Map documents. 

Quality of Cleanup Plans 
For soil and/or ground water or vapor intrusion contamination, it is required that applicants have a RAP approved by the MPCA. It is recommended that applicants start working with the Voluntary Investigation Cleanup Program and/or the Petroleum Brownfields Program (PBP) early and that they submit the reports by those programs to the MPCA a minimum of 45 working days prior to the TBRA application deadline. (The MPCA requires this lead time to assure a review of a RAP.) For projects with RAPs that do not include tables of the soil, ground water and/or soil vapor sampling results, applicants must also submit a Phase II environmental site assessment (ESA) as an attachment.  

Applicants that are applying for asbestos or lead-based paint cleanup must submit an assessment report that meets standards set by the Minnesota Department of Health identifying asbestos or lead-based paint content of the building material (e.g., percentage), the quantities of materials to be abated, condition of the materials assessed and include maps of sampling locations and laboratory analysis results.  

Local Support 
Any application for funds under this program must include a resolution supporting the application from the local unit of government within which the proposed project is located. The resolution must confirm that the project would not occur through private or other public investment without Council funding. A sample resolution (Word document) and budget (Excel file) are available in the application resources section of the Apply for LCA Grants page.

Recipients of Tax Base Revitalization Account grants must submit progress and annual reports. Semi-annual progress reports are required during the grant term for active grants. Additional annual reports are required in the spring after the termination of the grant period and three years annually thereafter to the Metropolitan Council. Annual reporting includes:   

  • the site cleanup and/or development activities completed in the previous calendar year,  

  • the amount of net tax capacity and the total property taxes paid on this parcel(s) (land and buildings) for the preceding year, and  

  • the number of full-time equivalent jobs (FTEs) including both part-time and full-time jobs on the site at the end of the previous year, and the number of the FTEs that are at or above living-wage level.  

2023 Annual Report Form 

When can I incur costs to be paid using grant funding?  
To be eligible for grants, all eligible cleanup activities must occur after the grant award date but before the grant term ends (three years). 

Exceptions  

  • Costs included in a cleanup grant request may include reimbursement for site investigation activities incurred up to 180 days before the date of application.  

  • Supplemental TBRA grants may include cleanup work performed up to 180 days prior to the grant application due date with a written eligibility determination from Metropolitan Council staff.​

What is required as match?  
The need for matching funds depends on the type of sources requested for cleanup funding: 

  • There is no matching fund requirement if 100% of the eligible cleanup cost will be requested using TBRA contamination cleanup grants. (This option is often true for projects requesting funding for abatement activities only.)  

  • If DEED and TBRA funding will be requested for projects with the seven-county metropolitan area, TBRA funds may be requested to provide up to 13% (or more) of the total eligible project cleanup costs as part of the 25% local match for cleanup costs required in DEED's Contamination Cleanup Grant Program. 

  • If DEED, TBRA, and Ramsey County or Hennepin County ERF funding will be requested, TBRA funds and county funds used may be used as part of the minimum required match for grants from DEED.  

  • Not all TBRA costs (e.g., abatement) will be eligible for use as matching funds to meet DEED’s requirement. In this case, the TBRA request may include cleanup activities that will not be used as matched funds for DEED 

My site may be developed for housing. What are the ‘Fair Housing’ requirements? 
A Fair Housing Policy is a locally adopted policy that outlines the municipality’s obligations to address fair housing. Policies may include but aren’t limited to procedures for complaint identification and referral, designating a fair housing officer, and outlining internal and external actions the municipality will undertake to advance fair housing. More information about Fair Housing Policies is available in the Applications Resources accordion on the Apply to LCA page

All applicants proposing to build or renovate housing that receive a Livable Communities Act grant must have adopted a Fair Housing Policy prior to the disbursement of LCA funds. (For more information about Metropolitan Council requirements on Fair Housing policies contact Maia Guerrero-Combs at maia.guerrero-combs@metc.state.mn.us or 651-602-1060.)  

My project will include housing. Are there requirements for marketing the housing? 
Yes. All proposed redevelopments that include housing – market-rate or affordable – must have an affirmative fair housing marketing plan in place before offering the units for rent or for sale. See the following example of typical considerations to include in a marketing plan: Minnesota Housing Sample Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan For additional information see the Affirmative Marketing Toolkit

What is the TBRA?
The Tax Base Revitalization Account (TBRA) is one of three voluntary grant programs provided by the Metropolitan Council’s Livable Communities program. TBRA can help pay for the costs of finding contamination coming from below ground or hazardous materials in existing buildings. Property and buildings that cannot be used or redeveloped are often called ‘bownfields’. The grants support community or economic redevelopment projects that increase the local tax base and support adding or helping keep jobs in a community and/or the production of affordable housing. 

How and when are TBRA funds available?

TBRA funds are raised by a legislatively authorized levy capped at $5 million annually.  

Applications are typically accepted on the first business day in May and November.  

Advance preparation is a key to a successful application. The TBRA is coordinated with complementary programs at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). It can take 60-75 days to compile all the environmental information and approvals of the local real estate development entitlements needed to complete a contamination cleanup grant application.  In addition, if your project is in Minneapolis or Saint Paul it can take up to 2 months advance notice to get a city resolution of support required for a grant application. 

What types of redevelopment projects are eligible for TBRA grants?

TBRA grants may be used for affordable and market rate residential, commercial or industrial redevelopment projects. Sites may be privately or publicly owned at the time of application.  

However, the project must be in a city participating in the Livable Communities program. In addition, a party that is likely responsible for the contamination is not eligible to apply. (If you think there may be a responsible party, we encourage you to contact the grant program coordinator.)  

Applications may also be determined ineligible for funding if: 

  • adequate clean-up funding is available from other public and private sources;  

  • the project requires extensive new (regional) infrastructure beyond that which is already planned  

  • the proposal is not consistent with the redevelopment component of the municipality's comprehensive plan (Minn. Stat. section 473.859, Subd. 5).  

Which type of TBRA grant should I apply for?

TBRA offers three types of grants:  

  • SEED grants are intended for sites with or withut a redevelopment located within an equitable development area (as determined by the Metropolitan Council) and are seeking public funding for site investigation or cleanup.

  • Site Investigation grants are intended for applicants that have a redevelopment site with suspected or perceived contamination and are seeking public funding to determine the scope and severity of the contamination and to develop a cleanup plan for a specific project.  

  • Cleanup grants are intended for applicants with projects that have recently completed their environmental site investigation or interior abatement assessment and are seeking public funding to assist with the cost of implementing a cleanup or abatement plan for eligible activities before starting construction on a specific project.  ​

What kinds of investigation costs are eligible for TBRA grants?
Investigation costs eligible for reimbursement by TBRA grants include:  

  • Phase I environmental site investigations, 

  • Phase II environmental site investigations, 

  • preparation of a remedial action work plan, 

  • preparation of Response Action Plans (RAPs) developed in conjunction with the MPCA for hazardous waste or Development Response Action Plans (DRAPs) developed in conjunction with the PCA for petroleum,  

  • hazardous materials surveys,  

  • preparation of abatement plans and specifications that meet AHERA (Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) standards for asbestos, and/or  

  • preparation of lead-based paint abatement plans that meet MDH standards and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

What specific cleanup costs related to soil and ground water contamination are eligible for TBRA funds?
TBRA funding can help pay for much of the cost difference between building on a contaminated site and building on a clean site. Grants may be used to pay for contamination found underground such as 

  • Soil contaminated by petroleum impacts or hazardous materials or substances 

  • Contamination that has affected soil vapor that will result in unhealthy indoor air or 

  • Pre-treatment of contamination that has affected the ground water prior to disposal during construction 

Underground cleanup activities must be required as part of a Response Action Plan (RAP) approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Only soil remediation costs directly related to contaminated soil and ground water are eligible for TBRA grant funds. Examples of ineligible soil remediation costs: 

  • Excess contaminated soil that does not exceed the appropriate cleanup standards (Tier I Residential or Tier II Industrial) but does not meet the standard for “clean fill” is eligible for reimbursement of disposal costs only. (The standard costs for excavating, loading and transporting of mildly contaminated soil are not eligible.)  

  • The costs related to improving the geotechnical qualities of the soil for building purposes are not eligible.  

  • The cost of removing clean fill or excess clean soil is also not eligible.  

Grants can also be used to pay for selected contaminants found within buildings such as asbestos and/or lead-based paint. 

Activities paid using grants must be incurred after a grant has been awarded. Grant funds are paid on a reimbursement basis. (We may make an exception for projects that have previously been awarded grant. In situations like this, funds must be for the same redevelopment project and must meet the conditions outlined below.)  

Projects seeking an additional grant for a previously funded project with a RAP amendment and received approval from the MPCA must submit the updated documents to the TBRA coordinator prior to submission of the corresponding payment request for soil or groundwater remediation. 

​Can TBRA grant funds be used to clean up petroleum-based contamination?

Yes. Costs for remediation of contamination related to above and below ground petroleum storage tanks and other petroleum-based contamination that has leaked into the soil are eligible for consideration but only after all available Petrofund sources have been utilized. The Petrofund is administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.  

A petroleum cleanup must be required as part of a Development Response Action Plan approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Grant funds are paid on a reimbursement basis.  

Are the disposal costs of other hazardous wastes, non-hazardous wastes and debris eligible for TBRA funding?
Only some hazardous wastes can be paid using grants. Remediation funds for abatement of asbestos or lead-based paint during renovations for adaptive reuse or pre-demolition of an existing building are eligible. Costs for abating other types of hazardous contamination found in buildings such as mercury in thermostats, oils in door closers, and other contamination related to HVAC systems are generally not eligible for reimbursement. Household waste and solid waste including construction debris and old tires are not eligible for TBRA grant funding. 

If a redevelopment project includes a housing component, is a portion of that housing required to be affordable?
No, there is no minimum number of affordable residential units required to apply for a TBRA grant. However, adding new ownership or rental units affordable to households earning 60% of the area median income (AMI) or lower is one of the primary criteria used in evaluating TBRA applications.  Redevelopment projects that include housing are evaluated on the number and type of affordable housing units to be provided relative to the amount of TBRA funding requested for the project.

Is funding for site acquisition eligible?
No. Site acquisition costs are not eligible.  

Is funding for building demolition eligible?
Sometimes. Building demolition costs are eligible when the removal of a structure is necessary to gain access to remediate soil and ground water contamination and is identified in a MPCA approved Response Action Plan (RAP). You will need to provide soil borings with levels of contamination above soil reference values within the building footprint for us to consider reimbursement of the cost of demolition. Demolition costs requested must be proportionate to the footprint of the soil contamination removed. Limited pre-demolition costs related to accessing or removing asbestos or lead-based paint are eligible. All other interior demolition costs are not eligible.  

Can a project be funded if eminent domain was used for acquisition?

Generally, no. If a property was acquired through eminent domain it is not eligible for a TBRA grant. But if eminent domain was used for a “public use or public purpose.” The term “public use or public purpose” as it pertains to this policy includes  

  • mitigation of a blighted area  

  • remediation of an environmentally contaminated area  

  • reduction of abandoned property, or  

  • removal of a public nuisance  

as the terms above (italicized) are defined in Minnesota statute. (For definitions see Minnesota Statutes Chapter 117.025) 

Can funds be requested for cleanup costs incurred between grant rounds? 

The cost of cleanup activities that occurred prior to a grant award are not eligible for reimbursement unless the applicant has previously been awarded cleanup funding for the same redevelopment project in a prior funding cycle and the costs are expressly authorized by the Council. (For information on investigation activities, above.) 

In order for contamination cleanup activities incurred prior to the TBRA funding award date to be considered eligible for funding, applicants must meet the following four conditions:  

  • The cleanup work for which funding is being requested must have been done no earlier than 180 days before the TBRA application deadline (first business day on or after November 1 or May 1).  

  • For soil and ground water remediation work, the MPCA must approve a RAP for the project prior to commencing work; for asbestos abatement, a Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) licensed inspector/contractor must complete an asbestos evaluation and plan according to Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) standards; for lead-based paint abatement an MDH licensed inspector/contractor must complete a lead-based paint evaluation according to MDH standards and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  

  • The applicant must contact the Metropolitan Council TBRA staff prior to commencing any cleanup work. A site visit with the applicant and TBRA staff is recommend so there is clear understanding of the project and the proposed remediation.  

  • Before starting the cleanup work, the applicant must provide a letter to Council TBRA staff with a cost estimate for the complete scope of work and explain why the cleanup work needs to start prior to the TBRA application deadline. The letter must also clearly state: 

    • The applicant is going to start project cleanup work before the next TBRA application deadline; and the applicant has the appropriate approvals (see second bullet above on soil and ground water remediation projects).  
    • The applicant understands that while this notification process makes the work done after the Council receives the letter eligible for consideration in the next TBRA grant round, it does not commit the Council to funding the project.  
Can previously funded projects get additional TBRA funding if they encounter additional cleanup costs?

Applicants that have already been awarded TBRA grant funds are eligible to apply for additional funds for a project if during the clean up 

  • significantly larger quantities of contamination are encountered than estimated in the environmental investigation documents and/or RAP submitted with the prior grant application; or  

  • significant amounts of contamination not identified in the prior environmental investigation(s) are encountered.  

Applicants requesting supplemental funding for soil remediation must provide an amended RAP or provide documentation that the MPCA has approved the changes for which additional funding is being requested. Applicants requesting supplemental funding for asbestos and/or lead-based paint abatement must provide documentation that a licensed inspector/contractor has been involved in assessing the additional abatement needed and that the additional cleanup work (if any) was done according to Asbestos Hazard Emergency Responses Act (AHERA),  MDH standards for asbestos and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for lead-based paint.  

Additional contamination cleanup activities incurred prior to the TBRA funding award date for the grant cycle in which funding was requested must also meet the conditions described in the question above to be eligible for reimbursement. 

How can I learn more about brownfield cleanup funding opportunities? 
Workshops are held prior to every spring and fall grant cycle to provide information on brownfield cleanup funding programs and opportunities available in Minnesota. The workshops are co-hosted by the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development For details about future workshops, contact the TBRA grant coordinator or check Met Council Upcoming Events. Additional information on brownfields is provided by the non-profit Minnesota Brownfields.
 

If a TBRA application is funded, what are the obligations that accompany the grant?
Recipients of a TBRA grant are expected to draw funds within the first year of funding and must complete the cleanup and begin construction of the redevelopment before the end of the grant term. Like other Livable Communities Act grant programs, grant funds are a reimbursement for work completed. In addition, status reports are required within the grant term and annual progress reports are required for up to four years after the end of the grant term this includes information on jobs, net tax capacity, property taxes and other development outcomes.

Applicants that are unable to start construction within the grant term will have an opportunity to request a grant extension. For information on grant extensions, contact the program coordinator.

Surly brewery.

TBRA provides $5 million annually to investigate and clean up brownfields — contaminated land, ground water, or buildings — for redevelopment. TBRA provides key support for a wide range of projects, from affordable and market rate multi-family housing to commercial and industrial development.

Brownfield resources are provided for educational purposes. The Metropolitan Council does endorse individual organizations, firms or programs.  
Prefer a PDF document of the key program pieces?
The Program Essentials document has key dates, funding amounts, eligible activities, the scoring table, and application checklist. 
TBRA SEED 2024 Program Essentials (PDF)
TBRA Site Investigation 2024 Program Essentials (PDF)
TBRA Cleanup 2024 Program Essentials (PDF)
TBRA SEED 2024 Evaluation Explanations (PDF)
TBRA Site Investigation 2024 Evaluation Explanations (PDF)
TBRA Cleanup 2024 Evaluation Explanations (PDF)

TBRA Program Coordinator

Marcus Martin (he/him)
marcus.martin@metc.state.mn.us