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  • 05 May 2020 1:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer

    In the brownfield redevelopment industry, everything is filled with uncertainty, as a new normal produces a sweeping impact on industries, bar none. 

    How much more, or less, is the brownfield industry impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? What are the challenges and even opportunities? Remediation teams and developers might have begun donating personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, to their local health professionals. 

    Broadly, what the brownfield landscape resembles in a year or two from now, the toll it takes, is a question not easily quantifiable or readily answered. 

    Many disparate components of this industry are fair game. One that comes to mind is community/urban garden projects—ones either in the works or up and running. Urban garden projects are a brownfield redevelopment strategy that’s an attractive pursuit for the bandwidth it carries to stimulate economic, environmental and social change. 

    It’s a model that can become a permanent fixture in a metro area or viewed as an interim brownfield, where it serves as a placeholder for a yet-to-be-determined end uses. 

    Urban gardens bring communities together, as volunteers and even paid workers tend to gardens seasonally. Urban gardens are a great vehicle for triggering youth work programs.  The endgame is compelling: Jobs are created but more so it’s about establishing a viable food source for urban “food deserts.” 

    The environmental aspects of urban gardens help reduce the carbon footprint, while the economics payoffs see food grown, harvested and sold or donated. On the social plane, these projects bring people together and foster community pride.

    That last point is a sticky one, particularly under what’s certain to be new and far more stringent guideline governing these efforts. Urban gardens on brownfield are often bustling with volunteers throughout the day.    

    It will be interesting to see if urban garden projects continue moving forward—within new ground rules that place a limit on the number of people that can be onsite at any given time. 

    Along the lines of urban garden initiatives, New York City had been in the process of orchestrating two urban redevelopment concepts that fold in community gardens as a component of the blueprint. 

    A Lot At Stake 

    In an announcement made in 2019 by Gov. Cuomo, the state awarded development rights and construction funding for four housing projects that will collectively create more than 2,700 affordable-supportive residential units. Herkimer Gardens in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, is one of the projects that has been ticketed to receive funding and approvals from the Governor’s $1.4 billion “Vital Brooklyn” housing initiative.

    Designed by Urban Architectural Initiative, the building was to be constructed to Passive House Standards, incorporating solar-voltaic shades and a green roof. Interior components were to include 118 affordable homes, on-site urgent care facilities, a wellness center with physical therapy equipment, a food access assistance center, community and recreation space and computer lounge. Outdoor amenities include a terrace on the second floor and another on the seventh floor with an urban farm. According to information from the developer of the property, Federation of Organizations, the total project was estimated to cost $55 million with an anticipated completion date in spring 2022.

    It’s been estimated that the Big Apple boasts more than 450 community gardens, most all a fixture of city living. There was a time they bordered on extinction. In the late 1990s, city officials, seeking revenue, planned to auction off vacant lots—including more than a hundred community gardens—to the highest bidder.

    That was before a local gardeners coalition mobilized to protect the land. There were rallies, lawsuits, and at one point, a restraining order to block a scheduled auction. Speaking to the New York Times from a bench in one Harlem garden in 1997, a gardener named Mary Emma Harris was resolute: “I'm not going to dig up those plants. It’s not over until the fat lady sings.”

    These days, every borough hosts at least one urban farm;   ones of renown include GrowNYC (21,000-square-foot urban garden that’s filled with vegetable beds made from recycled materials), the Battery Urban Farm (one acre in the 25-acre Battery Park dedicated to growing more than 100 types of vegetables, with all food harvested by NYC students and donated to school cafeterias and food pantries), and Riverpark (located in the Alexandria Center, it uses 7,000 milk crates as grow beds and grows more than 100 types of vegetables).

    In New Jersey, many are also championing the concept, including Rutgers University's School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. The New Jersey urban garden movement has come a long way. 

    Speaking recently to NJ.com, one urban grower who first started farming in Newark in 2012 recalled land as a “drug den, overgrown with weeds. Over time, the effort saw the transformation of a 6,000 square-foot plot into what’s known as the “People’s Garden,” growing squash, eggplant, Swiss chard, zucchini and a variety of herbs.

    The transformation wasn’t easy. The principals installed a cistern to capture rainwater off the property next door. They also learned the hard way that they couldn’t create a compost bin without attracting wild animals from Branch Brook Park.

    “We had to start adapting to the environment that we’re in,” according to the Newark Community Food System. “You work with what you have and you create creative ways to produce food.”

    Newark Community Food Systems Urban Farms has evolved, and so too has Newark’s Beth Israel Medical Center, which opened its hydroponic Beth Greenhouse in 2016, and continues to sell produce at affordable rates at an indoor farmer’s market. 

    AeroFarms also opened a 69,000 square foot vertical farm, the largest in the world, inside a converted steel factory in Newark. The Greater Newark Conservancy runs a massive farm on Hawthorne Avenue, renting planter beds to interested residents, according to NJ.com.  

    Let’s hope urban and community gardens on former brownfields can weather the COVID-19 storm and remain vibrant. Each month, expect to see similar coverage from the BCONE digital platform that takes closer examinations of what the “new normal” might resemble, based on interaction with various public and private brownfield stakeholders across industry disciplines—from developer to remediation experts.

    Because there will be vulnerabilities lurking, and those prepared with a new vision have a better shot at weathering this storm. 

  • 24 Mar 2020 2:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    One of the first things the 400+ attendees of the 2020 PA Brownfield Conference saw was the welcome banner sponsored by BCONE. 


    The event held at State College, PA was well attended, had great information and energy, and was one of the last large gatherings before we all started hunkering down to slow this virus. Kudos to the Conference organizers and staff on a great conference, especially PADEP and the Engineer’s Society of Western Pennsylvania.

    BCONE’s leaders were moderators, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, and conference track chairs. Here is a quick look at the breadth and depth of topics covered by BCONE Board Members, Emeritus Members of the Board, BCONE Committee Chairs, and your staff:

    • BCONE  Board President, Rick Shoyer of Advanced GeoServices Corporation moderated and spoke on the panel entitled PFAS and Brownfield Redevelopment: Risk Management. It was standing room only.
    • Board members John Gross of PADEP chaired the sessions on Rebuilding Rural Coal Region through Environmental Justice and The Knitting Mill Redevelopment: How Teamwork Led to Project Success (Yes, that project sounds familiar to BCONE members; BCONE’s PA Expansion Committee held a site visit there in 2019).
    • BCONE Board member Brian Clark of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC spoke on the panels Regional Hot Topics in Brownfields: Resiliency, Fill Policy, and Sustainability and The Next Generation of Brownfield Properties from a Buyer’s Perspective.  He was joined on the Hot Topics panel by BCONE Executive Director, Sue Boyle of GEI Consultants, Inc. Board member Emeritus Colleen Kokas of Environmental Liability Transfer, Inc. chaired the Next Generation panel as well as the session Playbook for Pennsylvania’s Retired Coal-Fired Power Plants.
    • Emeritus Board Members Troy Conrad of  PADEP was everywhere:  He spoke on these panel: Brownfields 101, Federal and States Update,  and the Technical Challenges and Solutions for PFAS at Brownfield Sites. If that isn’t enough, he chaired the Keynote Speaker session, The Arc of the Covenant session, and the Plenary Session.
    • Advisory Council Committee Chair,  Katrina Van Deusen of Whitman joined BCONE’s partners from NJIT on the panel entitled Green Remediation for the 21st Century; Gary White  of the NJIT TAB chaired that session and spoke at the EPA Region 3 All Grantees meeting.

       

      

      


    A new trend at Brownfield conferences, which we believe started  with our colleagues from the Central Appalachian Brownfields Innovation Network (CABIN) in WV, is the inclusion of the Women’s Network session. 


    Long-time friends of BCONE, Jill Gaito of  Gaito & Associate and Kim Hoover of PADEP led the informal women’s gathering, which included Ms. Gaito’s reflections on her brownfield career path (an amazing story of risk taking, smarts, and strength) followed by terrific interactive discussion moderated masterfully by Ms. Hoover. We wholeheartedly endorse this new trend and will include it at BCONE’s NSCW. It supports our observation that there were lots of new faces at the 2020 PA Brownfield Conference and the vast majority were smart, energetic women.

  • 28 Feb 2020 11:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Colleen Kokas, Environmental Liability Transfer

    BCONE hosted its quarterly Environmental Regulatory Roundtable at the Skylark in Edison over coffee and a hearty breakfast.  Here is an overview of the topics discussed on that early Tuesday morning.  

    EDA Brownfield Initiatives

    Brownfield Center.  The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board of Directors today approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) to establish the NJ Brownfields Center at NJIT (Brownfields Center). The Brownfields Center will provide a variety of technical assistance and resources to assist New Jersey communities with the process of transforming their brownfield sites into community assets.  

    The Brownfields Center at NJIT will expand upon these efforts to offer similar assistance to communities beyond the twelve CCI municipalities, as well as providing additional tools to all brownfield communities in New Jersey. The Center will provide guidance and resources to county and local government entities to help them overcome  challenges and navigate the brownfield redevelopment process, as well as educate and engage communities around brownfield issues. Under the terms of the agreement approved today, the NJEDA will provide $200,000 to launch the Brownfields Center and NJIT will provide quarterly updates on the use of funds and progress in communities receiving assistance. 

    Brownfield Loans.  NJEDA is creating a Brownfields Loan Program to provide financing to potential brownfield site purchasers and current brownfield site owners (including local government redevelopers) that intend to develop commercial, retail, mixed-use developments, expansions or reuses.  The foundation for creating this loan program is that financial resources are hard to obtain for certain activities, such as demolition.  This fund is anticipated to fill that void.  

    Parties responsible for contamination of brownfield site, related to party responsible for contamination of brownfield site, or parties that have indemnified a responsible party or a party related to a responsible party are not eligible for the Brownfields Loan Program.

    NJBIA Environment & Energy Committee Meeting 

    Some BCONE members attended a recent meeting of the NJ Business and Industry Association’s Environment and Energy Policy Committee.  An overview was provided of the many activities that are underway as a result of the issuance of the Energy Master Plan.  

    Energy Master Plan. The Energy Master Plan was released on January 27, 2020, and outlines key strategies to reach the Administration’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050.  The details of how to reach that goal will be further defined by subsequent executive and administrative order, regulations and guidance.  

    Executive Order 100.  Governor Murphy signed EO 100 to direct the advancement of the initiatives in the Energy Master Plan.  NJDEP is required to institute regulatory reforms, branded as Protecting Against Climate Threats (PACT), to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. With this executive action, New Jersey is the first state in the nation to pursue such a comprehensive and aggressive suite of climate change regulation.

    PACT.  There are a number of specific tasks for NJDEP to complete within specified timeframes, including:

    • A greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting program to identify all significant sources of GHG emissions;
    • Establish criteria to reduce certain short-lived carbon dioxide emissions, such as hydroflorocarbons, black carbon and methane;
    • Integrate climate change considerations, such as sea level rise into its regulatory and permitting programs;
    • Identification (through Administrative Order) of regulations that require updates;

    Administrative Order 2020-01.  In January 2020, NJDEP Commissioner McCabe signed an administrative order that provides an overview of the tasks the Department will be taking in its efforts to meet the clean energy goals of the EMP.  AO 2020-01 primarily identified timeframes within which the activities outlined in above would be completed.  Of note in AO 2020-01 is the completion to incorporate climate change considerations into all relevant grant, loan and contracting programs implemented by the Department by January 27, 2021.

    To keep abreast of all the work underway to achieve the goals established by PACT, including numerous stakeholder meetings, NJDEP has established a website at https://www.nj.gov/dep/njpact.

    Amendments to A-901 Program

    A recent bill (S-1683) was passed in January 2020, that requires licensure of those that engage in, or that otherwise provide recycled soil and fill recycling services. On the surface, it may appear that this may not impact you. But the legislation is far reaching. “Soil and fill recycling services” is defined as “the collection, transportation, processing, brokering, storage, purchase, sale or disposition of soil and fill recyclable material.” “Soil and fill recycling services materials” is defined as “non-putrescible aggregate substitutes,” such as “broken or crushed brick, block, concrete, or other similar manufactured materials; soil or soil that may contain aggregate substitute or other debris or material, generated from land clearing, excavation, demolition, or redevelopment activities that would otherwise be managed as solid waste, and that may be returned to the economic mainstream in the form of raw materials for further processing or for use as fill material.”

    “Soil and fill recyclable materials” does not include: (1) Class A recyclable material; (2) Class B recyclable material, that is shipped to a Class B recycling center approved by the DEP for receipt, storage, processing, or transfer; (3) beneficial use material for which the generator has obtained prior approval from the DEP to transport to an approved and designated destination, and (4) virgin quarry products including, but not limited to, rock, stone, gravel, sand, clay and other mined products. 

    Now it’s up to you to determine whether this applies to the work you conduct.  If you think you may be effected, you must register your business with NJDEP by April 20, 2020.  The registration will be followed by a lengthy licensing process that could begin as early as October 2020.  To register, go to https://www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/a901/a901frms.htm

    For the full language of the bill, go to https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/AL19/397_.PDF

  • 04 Feb 2020 1:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Food and brownfields were a popular duo on 2019:

    There was a splendid cake to celebrate the 10th Annual Northeast Sustainable Communities Workshop (NSCW) in 2019.  

    Breakfast seminars were held in three states: CA, CT and NJ.  The advertising for the seminars included a lovely photo of pancakes. At the NJ seminar series, breakfast came with a side of continuing education credits.

    BCONE’s fall event in PA included a great time in a brewery.  Yes, beer is food.

    The fall Aspiring Professionals event with BCONE, SWEP, AHMP, AEG and LSRPA included Chimney Rock’s famous pizza.

    Seminars covered many topics in 2019, from Opportunity Zones to emerging contaminants.  From community collaboratives to due diligence.  We addressed amendments to the Site Remediation Reform Act and expansions to CT’s Licensed Environmental Professionals’ authority, changes to remediation standards, other proposals for privatized environmental programs, and the intersection of brownfield remediation, redevelopment, resiliency, and land conservation. 

    BCONE representatives spoke at the National Brownfield Conference.  We met with environmental and economic development commissioners and wrote to support or oppose legislation and budget proposals. The Coalition’s by-laws have been amended and a new Board is about to meet for the first time in  2020. BCONE solidified its relationships with other like-minded non-profits and strengthened our relationship with Brownfield Listings, the NYS Council of Professional Geologists and CT’s Environmental Business Council.

    BCONE’s membership and sponsorships grew in 2019, as did our number of events and number of eblasts to let our members know about upcoming events and news.  Steve Dwyer continues as our blogger and we are improving BCONE’s  social media presence thanks to Tiesha Green. Our committees’ activity is growing and they are always looking for new members.

    BCONE is so proud to continue to offer scholarships to grow the next generation of brownfield professionals.  We honor Charlie Bartsch thanks to your generous tax-deductible donations and the fundraisers that we hold twice a year with our colleagues at the NYC Brownfield Partnership and SWEP. Scholarships in 2019 were awarded for exciting student projects.  We need your excellent ideas on how we create a sustainable, dedicated funding stream to increase the scholarships to all states within the BCONE geography. 

    Please let us know what you enjoyed most about BCONE in 2019; let us know your recommendations for improvement in 2020. Join a committee, write an article, attend the first-ever Annual Membership Meeting in 2020 (more details to follow). Tell us if we are sending you too many eblasts. Suggest how to increase our social media effectiveness. Bring an aspiring professional to the next event you attend.  Spend some of 2020 with us.  And have a terrific new year.

  • 05 Dec 2019 10:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    You Are Invited to Be Part of the Northeast’s Premier Brownfields Conference

    Are you a brownfield professional? Are you part of an organization that works in brownfields redevelopment or community sustainability? Do you design, develop, or implement brownfields solutions? Then you should be presenting at the Northeast Sustainable Communities Workshop (NSCW) 2020!

    NSCW is the premier metropolitan workshop on identifying sustainable goals and strategies for revitalizing communities and brownfields. It is being held this year on May 5th at a very exciting location; the War Memorial in Trenton, NJ. NSCW is like no other conference you've been a part of: PowerPoint presentations are sparse and image-only; speakers are concise, yet informative; and, there is plenty of time in each session for dialogue between attendees, speakers, and moderators.

    BCONE is currently accepting proposals for presentations at our 11th annual conference. NSCW organizers are looking for proposals related to sustainability. Submissions may address either broad or niche areas; research projects or case studies; management and policy challenges; and local, regional, or national issues. Back by popular demand is our poster competition allowing presenters to showcase their research; and new this year, we are offering an amazing opportunity with the Municipal Opportunity Showcase that gives cities, towns, departments and committees the opportunity to promote current sites available for redevelopment in their local communities.

    How Do I Submit a Session Idea?

    There are Panel Options for the Plenary sessions, 60- and 30-Minute sessions, 5-Minute Lighting Talks; and Poster submissions, as well as submissions for the Municipal Opportunity Showcase!

    To submit, click on this link for instructions and this link to complete the application form for the 60-, 50-, 30-minute Workshops and 5-minute Lightning Talks. For Poster submissions, click here. For Municipal Opportunity Showcase submissions, click here

    The Call for Session Topics is open until December 20, 2019.

  • 28 Oct 2019 2:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer 

    The impartial judges who selected a University of Connecticut brownfield project worthy of scholarship money back in the winter are seeing their selection become double-reinforced. 

    A group of four UCONN students conducted field work in the town of Stafford, Conn.—carrying out primarily phase investigations 1,2 and 3, and for their efforts secured $2,000 from BCONE as part of the Charlie Bartsch Brownfield Scholarship. 

    In September, the focus was back on the community of Stafford when U.S. EPA selected the community for a Brownfields Assessment Grant. The target area for the grant is downtown and northeast areas of Stafford—amounting to $221,000 for hazardous substances and $79,000 for petroleum.

    Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds are expected to be used to conduct three Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments and prepare one cleanup plan. Community-wide petroleum grant funds will be used to conduct one Phase I and one Phase II environmental site assessment and to prepare one cleanup plan. Grant funds also will be used to prepare a reuse plan or market analysis for two sites and conduct community outreach activities. 

    BCONE Board member Mark Lewis, Brownfields Coordinator, Connecticut Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection, Office of Constituent Affairs and Land Management, was one of three judges that picked the UCONN team that worked in Stafford.

    “The students presented the results of their research very convincingly, and also delivered a great verbal presentation. The combination made it clear to the three judges that Stafford’s project was the winner among several very deserving candidates,” says Lewis. “And it turned out that the EPA agreed with us, in the context of awarding the town the grant money.”

    Lewis knows the narrative of Stafford. He says that the town that has been known for several mill properties fell on difficult times when mills closed. But a rebirth ensued in 2014 and now a grant from EPA has been bestowed to allow it to continue its ambitious road to prosperity. 

    “Years ago, the town entered into our (state of Conn.) abandoned brownfield program, but in 2014 an angel investor acquired one of the textile mills that had been shuttered and put it back online—in turn putting a lot of people back to work and helping infuse the town several ways, including economically,” says Lewis, about a mill that sees its production used by U.S. military operations. 

    Starting with the UCONN students performing the upfront work, the work now set to commence thanks to the EPA grant will  help identify the best, most cost-effective way to clean up other abandoned former brownfields. “This lays the groundwork on creating a roadmap on what steps need to be taken for the cleanup and what steps are needed to put sites back into productive use,” says Lewis. “This grant also could lay the groundwork for further state, local and federal financing to the town. The grant Stafford received essentially take towns that are ‘stuck’ and makes them ‘unstuck.’”  

    Lewis adds that Stafford is “a fairly typical mill town in north central Connecticut. I would say what we’re really trying to do is use the same Yankee ingenuity that helped Connecticut become a leader in the industrial revolution to being a leader in cleaning up abandoned sites.”

    Students Paved The Way  

    You could say that the four UCONN students—Connor Oakes, Chris Falk, Matthew McKenna and Caressa Wakeman—laid the groundwork for the EPA grant being provided to Stafford. No doubt that the scholarship shone a light on the community—and those at EPA and beyond took notice. 

    The UCONN foursome, who were each awarded $500 to go towards their educations, visited Stafford five times during the fall 2018 semester, conducted phone work and captured many details about the community and the current state of brownfields by getting documents from town hall. After conducting Phase investigations 1,2 and 3, they prepared the assessment grant and gave a 15-minutes presentation in class about their efforts.

    The team identified five brownfield sites in Stafford, a town of about 12,000 residents. One was an old school with incidence of asbestos and lead paint, while two were textile mills. They were also in close proximity to waterways. 

    The students were studying in UCONN’s CT Brownfields Initiative, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, under the direction of Dr. Nefeli Bompoti, Ph.D., assistant research professor, and Marisa Chrysochoou, Ph.D., director, Connecticut Brownfields Initiative, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

    In addition to Lewis, the other two judges were Don Friday, project manager at the CT Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), and Sarah Trombetta, senior project manager at TRC Companies.

    All total, 151 grant were awards amounting to $64.6 million in EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities in Opportunity Zones and other parts of the country in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Forty-percent of the communities selected for funding will receive assistance for the first time. 

    Lewis says that preparing grants to have a chance for the capital is a challenge. “In many small towns—in Connecticut and elsewhere—municipal staffs are stretched very thin, and lack the proper resources to prepare grants to the letter of completion,” he says. “These EPA grants for brownfields are also extremely competitive. Basically, there are a lot of dedicated people but only so many hours in the day (to attend to grant writing preparation).” 

    You could say that the UCONN students helped the town out on the front-end work for the grant with the submission of their report, which no doubt was rich with content ultimately used in the grant proposal.  

    Lewis says that the UCONN students not only were pleased about receiving scholarship money and receiving real-world experience, but “they were able to see that their efforts actually made a difference for a local community, as witnessed by the EPA grant in September.” 


  • 09 Sep 2019 1:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Many thanks to BCONE Board Member Alan Miller of NJDEP for presenting on the CCI and thanks also to Advisory Council Member Neil Yoskin, Esq. of Cullen and Dykman LLP for his wonderful writeup.  If you missed the breakfast and the recent newspaper coverage about the CCI, here is what you need to know about the program.

    The Community Collaborative Initiative (CCI) originated organically in the late 2000s from NJDEP’s Brownfield Development Area (BDA) in Camden, NJ.  BDA manager Frank McLaughlin of DEP began to integrate brownfields redevelopment with other environmental challenges like combined sewage overflow  (CSO) flooding and lack of community access to the waterfront. It was expanded to other cities as a pilot program: DEP looked for locations where BDAs and CSOs overlapped, and identified eleven candidate cities, notably Perth Amboy and Trenton.  CCI is undergoing a major expansion into several cities in Southern New Jersey this month (September, 2019).

    The CCI Program helps make  good projects great and  addresses environmental challenges, economic development, and quality of life issues. The CCI approach involves DEP as a partner, not a regulator. One of the  significant differences between CCI and other programs is that a DEP representative is embedded as part of the team. Alan Miller, for example,  is embedded in Bayonne. Also, the municipality sets the CCI priorities, not DEP.

    CCI is a collaborative process: across local and state government and across agencies.  It is housed in DEP’s  Site Remediation Program for administrative purposes and reports to Director Ken Kloo.  Another state organization, the Economic Development Authority (EDA) has funded a program expansion.  Current CEO of EDA, Tim Sullivan, has a strong background in brownfields from his experience in NY and CT and BCONE has had the pleasure of working with Mr. Sullivan over the years in his many roles. EDA and DEP are partners on many programs, including brownfield loans and grants. The Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Local Government Services can play a role in the process, as can qualified Opportunity Zones.

  • 10 Jun 2019 1:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    By: Sue Boyle, GEI Consultants and Executive Director, BCONE and Barry Hersh, NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate

    The genesis of the NSCW was the realization that brownfield redevelopment was a regional market; metro New York including NYC and suburbs and parts of CT, NJ and PA. NSCW founders also saw early, before Superstorm Sandy, the connections between sustainable and resilient communities and brownfield redevelopment. A predecessor was called Tri-State Brownfield Conference, but NSCW founders wanted real, free-flowing participation; with many panels, time for discussions, and minimal use of PowerPoints. NSCW is self-sustaining, by and for Brownfielders; affordable- especially for community organizations and government officials, led by significant volunteer effort, with limited contracted staff assistance. 

    NSCW's goal has always been to break new ground, offer new ideas and new concepts on the topics of sustainability, collaboration and leverage, contamination, resiliency, redevelopment challenges, remediation technology, and their impact on community revitalization. Attendees include a vibrant mix of representatives from communities, government, higher education, professional organizations, and laboratories, as well as attorneys, developers, contractors, and consultants. 

    NSCW was never about "stars," but over the years we’ve heard from some notable leaders; the inimitable Charlie Bartsch, Mathy Stanislaus then new Assistant Administrator at USEPA’s OSWER, Ed Chu then of White House Council on Environmental Quality, David Lloyd and others from USEPA. Also numerous NJ, NY and CT State commissioners, New York City’s first OER Director Dan Walsh several times, plus other officials and private brownfield redevelopers such as Joe Cotter, George Vallone and Alexander Durst. For our 10th anniversary we are, as we did the first NSCW, having a representative from the Federal Reserve Bank. 

    Who were the pioneers who created NSCW? Let’s start with Lee Ilan of NY and Sue Boyle NJ, who have volunteered to plan and implement all ten NSCWs and the three Tri-States that preceded. Other original team members over the decade plus include Michael Taylor CT, Colleen Kokas NJ, Gary Rozmus NY, Larry Schnapf NY, Barry Hersh CT, Beth Barton CT, Lee Hoffman CT, Brian Clark PA, and Jill Gaito PA. NJ Society of Women Environmental Professionals (SWEP) was the “official” organizational backstop for contracts in the early years and the long-time sponsor of the networking receptions each year thanks to Jeanne Mroczk

    Thank you to all of the current, multi-year volunteers, especially Elizabeth Limbrick and Rick Shoyer. Joining them: Jeff Entin, Wanda Monahan, Geoff Forrest, Alan Miller, Sharon McSwieney, Jen Carling, Rob Crespi, Ben Alter, and Trevan Houser. Others who were multi-year, active volunteers in the past include Shira Gidding Shaul and Sarit Platkin of NY, Cristin Mustillo NJ, Hannah Moore NY, Tim Kinsella NJ, Rick Gimello NJ, Jim Mack NJ, Chelsea Albucher NJ, Lya Thoedoratos of USEPA Region 2, Steve Danyew, and Skelly Holmbeck.

    NSCW always sought locations with good mass transit: 2009 and 2010 were held at NJIT, Newark NJ; we experimented with a half-day session in 2011 at Housatonic Community College, Bridgeport, CT; and 2012 returned to the Big Apple at John Jay College as NSCW, not Tri-State. The goal was to move around geographically in the region, but it also became clear that the location needed to be close to the core group of volunteers, which is why NJ is the most frequent location. BCONE as an incorporated non-profit organization took NSCW under its wing 2014 for contractual, financial and other infrastructure necessities and added limited but important contracted professional staff resources to supplement our tireless volunteers. NSCW returned to NJ in 2014 at the Liberty Science Center, Jersey City; we crossed the Hudson River again in 2015 to hold NSCW downtown at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, New York City (both were spectacular venues); and we found our home at NJIT for 2016 - 2019. NJIT has been a supportive partner for NSCW and BCONE, thanks to Colette Santasieri, Sean Vroom and Elizabeth Limbrick. Our volunteers and contracted staff are primarily based in NJ so the location works well for their busy schedules. BCONE welcomes events in CT, NY and/or PA if there is volunteer infrastructure to support the event location.

    NSCW began its annual awards in 2017, only a couple of years ago. We also began providing Continuing Education Credits in multiple states thanks to the Rutgers Continuing Education program’s Pamela Springard-Mayer.

    So this 10th Anniversary is worth a walk down the NSCW memory lane and a slice of cake!

    Thank you to Lee Ilan, Colleen Kokas, and Elizabeth Limbrick for providing their memories and electronic files!

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