ROCKFORD — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the city a $275,000 grant to help clean and redevelop a pair of vacant downtown buildings.


The funds will go toward the cleanup of the former Rockford Watch Co. factory, 325 S. Madison St., and the Lloyd’s Hearing Building, 128 Kishwaukee St.


The watch factory dates back to the late 19th century and has been vacant since 2014. The site is contaminated with metals and inorganic pollutants, the EPA said in a news release.


The former Lloyd’s Hearing building has been vacant and in disrepair for 13 years and is also polluted with contaminants, including polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and metals.


Grants awarded by the EPA’s Brownfields Program provide communities with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into assets that create jobs and generate economic development.


“The city of Rockford is thrilled to have this cleanup grant that will allow us to continue addressing brownfields in our community,” Mayor Tom McNamara said. “As one of the original US EPA Brownfields Pilot Programs in 1999, we recognize the immeasurable value of these grants as being true catalysts for successful and sustainable redevelopment.”


Ken DeCoster: kdecoster@rrstar.com; @DeCosterKen