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  • 13 Mar 2018 11:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Steve Dwyer 

    What does one make of President Trump's infrastructure proposal, a budgetary plan announced last month with mixed messages galore?

    The President announced a sweeping plan that proposes to rewrite long prevailing funding options for cleaning up brownfields and Superfund sites.  That part sounds good on paper for a funding mechanism that needs re-writing. 

    Unveiled the middle of February, the proposal seeks new avenues for providing federal funding for contaminated site cleanup, potentially speeding progress toward redeveloping sites. At the same time, the budget plan would slash traditional funding mechanisms for brownfields and integrate a legislative mechanism for ongoing approvals. Does anyone here need to inject additional bureaucracy into the mix? 

    Slashing traditional funding sounds tremendously ominous, but, indeed, the Trump proposal would actually trim the annual EPA budget earmarked for contaminated sites-this is a budget already regarded as thread-bare, based on the supply of brownfields comprising the U.S. portfolio.   

    As one brownfield practitioner put it, the federal funding for brownfield sites inventory is really, currently "a drop in the bucket" to support what's needed to accelerate developments to their full extent. The federal funding would be scaled back even more from an already-austere level. 

    Here are some specific details: Trump's proposed fiscal 2019 budget would cut the budget to $16 million. In fiscal year 2017, the EPA's Brownfields Program received about $25 million from Congress.

    The budget request would maintain Superfund outlays at about $1.1 billion for fiscal 2019, which does not do a typical brownfield any good. 

    The proposal expands the types of projects eligible for EPA's brownfields grant funding, allowing Superfund sites or parts of those sites access to that money. So in that subtext, Superfund sites would be the beneficiaries of capital infusions at the expense of brownfields (unless you consider Superfund sites to be the ultimate brownfield sites).

    More specifically, Superfund and brownfield sites would gain access to financing under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) lending program to address contamination to water resources.

    The EPA also expects to receive about $10 billion in a new $50 billion Rural Infrastructure Program Trump proposes, which would provide grants for brownfield sites.

    The scale of overall brownfield funding doesn't match need. A potential silver lining is that a bipartisan-supported bill in the House crafted late last year would reauthorize EPA's brownfields grant program, requesting $200 million for annually. This bill passed the House in December but a Senate vote had not yet been scheduled.

    This proposal would intensify the role of Congress in a more ongoing basis as the proposal would create new loan and grant programs but require legislative action in doing so. One potential silver lining of increased legislative actions is the fact that when it comes to brownfields, bi-partisan cooperation has long been the norm. 

    Here's hoping that past is prologue. 

    Meantime, John O'Grady, president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 704, which represents EPA employees, is unsure the president's infrastructure reform would help the Superfund and brownfield programs.

    "There's no magic bullet here," O'Grady told Bloomberg Environment. "It's kind of like smoke and mirrors."

    Dan French, chief executive officer of Brownfield Listings, said new sources of federal funding will boost developers' demand for brownfields.

    "Additional public capital is particularly helpful because of the way the brownfield market is bottlenecked, wherein deals don't initiate because there's too much uncertainty or risk for anyone in the private sector to even study the project in the first place," he told Bloomberg Environment.

  • 13 Mar 2018 10:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Heather Bellow, Berkshire Eagle (MA)

    Next spring, the entire Railroad Street area will likely get a good makeover. 

    And town officials know exactly how to pay for it. They'll move some grant money around - from one side of Main Street to the other. 

    Officials are proposing that about $1 million from a MassWorks grant intended for utility work around a brownfield on Bridge Street be shifted to repave and widen the sidewalks all the way up and around Railroad Street, as well as to repave the Railroad Street and Triplex parking lots.

    The work would continue from the top of Railroad and down Elm Street, begin in early spring of 2019, and move quickly, said Town Planner Christopher Remold.

    For the entire article, see


  • 05 Mar 2018 10:19 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Steve Dwyer

    The trend is becoming ubiquitous: larger-scale brownfield conversions into technology or innovation centers. The examples are several. A couple months ago we reported on Brown University, Cranston, R.I., poised to reshape a massive, century-old power station that sat vacant on the Providence River along its campus. 

    That end-use envisions the establishment of an innovation center-all part of creating "innovation districts" for driving research and development.  Now comes word that Pennsylvania is prepared to earmark $15 million in tax credits to transform a former steel mill in the Pittsburgh metro area into a technology hub, as reported in late December in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

    The announcement to allocate tax credits by PA Gov. Tom Wolf to expedite construction at Hazelwood Green, which is the site of a massive abandoned steel mill, culminates the efforts of a coalition of nonprofits eager to transform the footprint into a bustling corporate hub for research and technology.

    This project has great potential for revitalizing an unused brownfield site and bringing jobs and additional high-tech employers to Hazelwood. The coalition is "excited about the business synergies that could be created here to benefit the local community and the entire region." 

    Owned by three prominent Pittsburgh foundations since 2002, the 178-acre property along the Monogahela River formerly known as Almono is slated for redevelopment as a green high-tech center with space for housing, offices and recreation. The property is jointly owned by the Richard King Mellon, Benedum Foundations and The Heinz Endowments.

    The Commonwealth Cornerstone Group's New Markets Tax Credit funding ensures that the first of three office buildings planned at Pittsburgh's last big brownfield can begin construction early this year and be ready for occupants by spring 2019, Donald Smith, president of Regional Industrial Development Corp. (RIDC), a nonprofit real estate developer, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

    It will be interesting to watch the project take shape during this calendar year, where the first building is estimated to cost $46 million. Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) Advanced Robotics Manufacturing (ARM) Institute is slated to be the modern Mill 19's first tenant.

    One mission statement championed with large-scale efforts like this one is: "past is prologue." 

    Like so many other redevelopers have done in the past with similar projects, the Hazelwood sponsors are striving to emphasize the best of Pittsburgh's past, demonstrated by its rich steel-mill heritage, and meld that with the best of its future-that is, the technology expertise that CMU and the other companies will use as their cornerstone.  

    Under a 10-year lease with renewal options, the ARM Institute and Manufacturing Futures Initiative will take up two floors of a 94,000-square-foot building, the first of three set to be built within the 264,000-square-foot steel superstructure steel frame of the old mill -a concept described as "building within a building."

    The vision behind Hazelwood Green has been more than 15 years in the making. In addition to building residences and more office space for tech-minded companies, plans for Hazelwood Green include a 2.5-acre public space and constructing a new street running the length of the property. 

    Smith said getting involved in Hazelwood Green made perfect sense for RIDC, which has access to subsidies that for-profit entities don't and specializes in financing projects that benefit the public.

    In total, RIDC has received about $43 million combined in local, state and corporate tax credits toward the first phase of the Mill 19 project, including funding from Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority, PNC Bank and Telesis. After financing and administrative costs, the contribution translates into a net benefit of about $7 million toward the $46 million project, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

  • 02 Mar 2018 3:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Nicole Gugino, Dunkirk Observer (NY)

    A new development’s first step for local approval will take place Tuesday when the Dunkirk Zoning Board will vote on an area variance for the cold storage facility proposed for 320 Roberts Road.

    Cleanup of the brownfield site and the need from local ice cream manufacturer, Fieldbrook Foods, for cold storage have come together for this project. 

    However, plans exceed the dimensions allowed by city zoning code, necessitating a visit to the zoning board Tuesday at 5 p.m. in city hall. The law states a building can be no taller than 40 feet, however, plans seek 52-foot building with some portions as tall as 65 feet.

    For the entire article, see


  • 27 Feb 2018 4:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), has been working to improve and promote community health, partnerships, communication, and education in communities with sites that are in need of land revitalization. Many of these sites are Brownfields, which may have a presence of pollutants or contaminants that are harmful to people within these communities. As you may know, this can prevent the overall growth and health of a community.

    Working to revitalize these kinds of sites can be extensive and risky, which is why it is important to be equipped with the resources needed to put the health of our communities first! ATSDR has five Land Reuse and Redevelopment Toolkits that. You can access them by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/2reaId1

  • 27 Feb 2018 4:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Brett HallFriday, CNYcentral (NYrk

    In an area where many relics of Syracuse's industrial past have been washed clean of their former appearance, a former washing machine factory lies dormant and decaying with no immediate sign of change. 

    The 261,800 square foot facility has an address of 128 Spencer street placing it on the edge of Syracuse's Inner Harbor, two blocks from Destiny USA. While other former factories surround the property, many of them have been converted into loft apartments where the younger community has moved in.

    "I can see it right from my living room window it’s not the most best thing to look at during the day," Norah Hoodmaker, who lives across Spencer Street, said. "It’s creepy looking."

    For the entire article, see


  • 26 Feb 2018 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Steve Dwyer

    Transportation-oriented investments come in many shapes and sizes. The home run concepts might be found in a multi-use commercial/residential play that's positioned in close proximity to light rail or bus routes in an urban setting-or even include a modest but effective bicycle-sharing program to enable folks to get from point to point on a moment's notice. 

    A basic trail system constitutes a Transit Oriented Development (TOD)  component. However, it doesn't get the props as being a real game-changer in the context of "compelling redevelopment" project. 

    Of course, it depends on whom you ask. This passive TOD application can be equally as powerful to drive social-oriented impact and regenerate quality of life status. It's a simple yet effective outlet for residents to get out and walk, run or bike the trails. And, if a single, one-dimensional trail can be extended over time, it adds more power to point-to-point connectivity. 

    We witnessed an example of passive TOD relating to a 150-acre brownfield in West Bethlehem Township, PA where a mile-long grass hiking trail was unveiled recently. For one, the new-use helped shed a reputation of blight, as the footprint once housed a mine refuse dump and sediment ponds. It had sat dormant for years. Now, it's perceived by the public and local stakeholders as an asset. And, it's acclaimed to be a textbook example of what happens when land remediation is executed properly.

    Another example is Charles Town, WV, where the community embarked on an initiative to transform waterfront brownfields on the Evitts Run Creek into a new park, recreation and nature area with innovative green infrastructure helping buttress a distressed neighborhood. 

    Key components of the "Evitts Run Creek Green Infrastructure Park" is marked by an on-line wet stormwater lake and park space dubbed "Lake Charles." This plan included: planting of hundreds of urban trees and shrubs, removal of six acres of long-abandoned parking lot at a long-defunct creekside factory area, deployment of pervious parking and trail facilities, and creation of a native nursery to support future green infrastructure efforts in the watershed. 

    In West Beth, PA, land was reclaimed and repurposed in an area where coal mining was pervasive more than a quarter-century ago. The heavy lifting began in 2003 when West Bethlehem purchased the land from Bethlehem Steel Co. for $40,000, one year after the PA Department of Environmental Protection ordered the steel firm to spend $45 million to remediate six coal mines and clean up its waste pile and sediment ponds. A 12-inch-thick layer of topsoil was put down to seal the refuse area.

    West Bethlehem's agreement with the steel company mandated land to be made available to the public. The township has done just that-removing undergrowth around the pond, making it more accessible to those who fish, and forging an agreement with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to allow hunters on a permission basis.

    This transformation from brownfield to vibrant recreational space isn't complete, as there are more assets to be added to the existing footprint. The township also is formulating plans to plant donated trees and stock pheasants there, enhancing the property even more. The signature feature is the trail that offers impressive views and really has been a social impact, as well as a recreational/transportation boon. 

    Similar to the positive reaction in West Virginia, the West Beth project appears to have additional possibilities for expansion. Passive recreational decision on a property might not pump revenue into local or state coffers like multi-use commercial and residential projects do. But they sure do pump hope and sense of civic pride into the citizenry.

  • 21 Feb 2018 4:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Daniel Schemer, South Coast Today (MA)

    On Orchard Street in New Bedford’s South End a brand new Family Dollar has sprung up.

    “It’s a good location to have one. I think this store will do well here,” said Cheri Santos, the store manager, at the store’s grand opening last weekend.

    Of greater significance than having a new retail establishment in this part of the city, however, is the actual location itself.

    When standing in the building’s parking lot, across from Ashley Park, one is still greeted by a full view of what is referred to as the Goodyear Parcel, where the mammoth Goodyear Tire & Rubber Plant once stood. Now all that remains is 10 acres of fenced-in dirt stone, and debris, representing the residuals of this part of New Bedford’s once prominent industrial era.

    For the entire article, see


  • 21 Feb 2018 4:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Environmental due diligence is a critical component of any property transaction where potential environmental risks are a concern—minimize risks and protect yourself from...

    by Sylvia Carignan, BNA Environmental Due Diligence Guide

    President Donald Trump’s sweeping infrastructure plan proposes to rewrite long-standing funding options for cleaning up brownfields and superfund sites.

    The plan, released Feb. 12, seeks new ways to provide federal funding for contaminated site cleanup, potentially speeding progress toward redeveloping those sites. At the same time, the president’s budget plan would slash the traditional funding route for brownfields.

    The proposed infrastructure reforms would create new loan and grant programs but also require legislative action.

    For the entire article, see


  • 21 Feb 2018 3:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by TIM FAULKNER, ecoRI (RI)

    Cleaning polluted land isn’t cheap, but thanks to a federal and state program funds are available to return some of these brownfield sites to commercial and residential use.

    On Feb. 9, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) awarded $3.7 million to nine polluted sites for clean up and redevelopment. One of the sites will be home to a new facility for Farm Fresh RI, the nonprofit distributor of local food and farmers market manager headquartered in Pawtucket.

    The lot at 498 Kinsley Ave., in the Valley neighborhood, is the remnant of a massive mill fire in 2015 that destroyed the building. The 3.3-acre site will now host the Rhode Island Food Hub, a mixed-use facility that will serve as a distribution center for local food and produce. It will offer food production facilities, nutrition education, job training, and retail markets. Farm Fresh will occupy half of a new 60,000-square-foot building. Other food-related businesses will rent the rest.

    The Food Hub site is across the street from another brownfield success story, The Steel Yard, the industrial arts studio that received $2.1 million in brownfield funds in 2010 to remediate a 3.8-acre site. The Steep Yard hosted the announcement for the program's latest grant recipients.

    For the entire article, see


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