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  • Brownfield 2015 Conference: Sustainable Communities Start Here

Brownfield 2015 Conference: Sustainable Communities Start Here

  • 02 Sep 2015
  • 04 Sep 2015
  • Hilton Chicago

Brownfield Stakeholders:  Please visit the links below to see to short overviews, by topics, of some of the educational session opportunities and other activities that attendees may want to consider, when planning their conference experience. 

These theme / topic area summaries also are available on the conference website at www.brownfieldsconference.org under the tabs “EPA Priorities” and “Education.” Also, please scroll down to see those sessions recommended for those attending a National Brownfields Conference for the first time.

First Time at a Brownfields Conference?  Suggested Educational Sessions and Other Activities to Attend at Brownfields 2015

Suggested Goals:

  • Network – meet your peers and other stakeholders; take advantage of receptions, roundtable sessions, and the exhibit hall.
  • Find a mentor – connect with a community leader or stakeholder whom has some success in redeveloping brownfields and establish a connection for future advise and consultations
  • Bring a briefing sheet on your local brownfield priorities to share with other potentially interested partners (see more on this below)
  • Visit the Exhibit Hall – connect with vendors and service providers
  • Attend Educational Sessions – learn how other communities are addressing brownfields issues; Attend sessions across a variety of topics
  • Stop by the Stakeholder Marketplace in the Economic Redevelopment Forum – meet your state agency representatives
  • Browse the Data Lab – meet vendors, learn what data is available to help your community assess and cleanup brownfields
  • Have fun!

Suggested Sessions

Regional Open Houses – Tuesday afternoon (September 1) attend the your EPA Regional Office’s Open House, meet your EPA Regional project officers, learn about the EPA Brownfields Grant programs, and network with other stakeholders in your region of the country.  [September 1, 3:30, Palmer House Hilton]

Opening Plenary Session -- Gina McCarthy is the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Appointed by President Obama in 2009 as Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, Gina McCarthy is a leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment. Previously, McCarthy served as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. During her career, which spans over 30 years, she worked at both the state and local levels on critical environmental issues and helped coordinate policies on economic growth, energy, transportation and the environment.  [September 2, 9:00, International Ballroom]

Empowering Resource-Constrained Communities to Tackle Brownfields – learn about easy-to-use strategies and tools that can help resource-constrained community and government entities to jumpstart their brownfield redevelopment efforts. Through interactive exercises this session will allow participants to test-drive scoring tools, customizable templates, and strategies created by Delta. These tools will empower users to: develop and prioritize brownfield sites; identify opportunities to build economic development infrastructure; pinpoint marketing strengths/weaknesses of individual brownfield sites; and lay the foundation for a successful brownfield redevelopment program. [September 2, 1:15, Boulevard]

Keys to Sustaining a Local Brownfields Program -- Whether a local brownfields program has thrived for decades or was just launched recently, it can be difficult to sustain the program and ensure that it adapts to new economic and social realities. Led by two of the nation’s most experienced and successful brownfield leaders, this roundtable will promote a robust exchange of ideas on the keys to sustaining a local brownfields program. Topic include how to secure local political support & investment in brownfields, making sure you have local funding to support the staff & administrative costs and defining goals & tracking progress. [September 2, 2:45, Stevens Salon A-2]

Brownfields on the Rise: Chicago's South Suburban Redevelopment Story – Learn how the South Suburban Mayors and Managers, a regional planning organization, developed its brownfields program. Beginning with U.S. EPA brownfields assessment and revolving loan funding, the South Suburban Mayors and Managers developed a comprehensive regional brand that embraced sustainable green infrastructure development strategies for the reuse of multiple parcels. Additionally, an aggressive effort to use workforce programs for remediation, green infrastructure and end use for industrial manufacturing sites, is a priority. [September 2, 4:15, Stevens Salon B]

Inside the Mind of a Developer - Learn the secrets of leveraging risk and reward from several successful brownfields project developers who have taken on the redevelopment of some of the most challenging sites in the country. This session will highlight developer insights and innovative solutions for the most complex brownfield challenges while revealing tactics to help achieve the ultimate “light at the end of the tunnel” for any brownfield project: restoration of tax revenues, reduced contamination, increased property value, preservation of green space, and additional real estate development opportunities for the entire community. [September 2, 4:15, Stevens Salon A-1]

Opening Celebration – Meet and mingle with brownfields stakeholders from all parts of the country.  Connect with old friends, meet other stakeholders, be among the thousands of decision makers from the private sector, local, state and federal agencies, nonprofit and community groups, and academia joining the brownfields conversation.  [In the Exhibit Hall, September 2, 5:30]

Mayors’ Roundtable Plenary Session -- Hear nationally-recognized local leaders discuss how brownfields redevelopment can spur community revitalization and economic growth. During this facilitated dialogue, leading mayors from across the nation will share their experiences and success stories in revitalizing communities while addressing blight and environmental contamination. The lineup of mayors that will be participating include the following:

§       Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton, Ohio

§       Mayor Don Ness, Duluth, Minnesota

§       Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Gary, Indiana

§       Mayor Madeline Rogero, Knoxville, Tennessee

§       Mayor Paul Soglin, Madison, Wisconsin 

The roundtable will be moderated by Congressman Dan Kildee (Michigan). 

September 3, 8:30 am, International Ballroom

If You Build It Will They Come? Determining Retail Potential at Brownfield Sites -- The property and sales tax revenue from retail development makes retail an attractive option for Brownfield site reuse, but simply building retail facilities will not guarantee success. In this Learning Lounge, learn how a drive-time trade area analysis helps you to determine the number of customers who live in the area and the type of retail and restaurants that they frequent. These insights, combined with analysis of the trade area’s existing retail landscape, will enable you to make an informed decision about whether to move forward with retail development at the site or seek alternative reuse options. [September 3, 10:50, Stevens Salon B]

Redevelopment Financing for Rural Places -- Small and rural communities may face unique challenges in putting together competitive and winning proposals for federal and state funding opportunities to address brownfields. This round table discussion will be led by experts with extensive experience navigating the state and federal grant application processes. Join this session to ask your pressing questions and share your success stories with other rural community stakeholders. [September 3, 10:15, Stevens Salon B]

Under the Sun: Transforming Brownfields into Renewable Energy Producers -- The world of renewable energy is in a dynamic state.  Reductions in the costs of solar are changing the marketplace in significant ways, as are innovations such as anaerobic digestion. With such rapid advancements however come complex challenges. This session will bring together experts in renewable energy to demystify emerging technologies and bring participants up to date on how wind, solar, AD, and biomass can work individually or as partners on brownfields to produce clean, efficient, and renewable energy. [September 3, 12:45, Stevens Salon A-3]

BAD Buildings: Addressing Brownfields, Abandoned and Dilapidated Buildings – Learn how state agencies are addressing brownfields, abandoned, and dilapidated properties through community-driven redevelopment, issues-based research, policy improvement, and reuse planning. The BAD Buildings Model is a community-driven approach used in West Virginia to identify, prioritize, and redevelop brownfields, and abandoned and dilapidated properties. Also learn how the Illinois EPA Bureaus of Air and Land, with USEPA, initiated a pilot project under the Illinois Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program to create a valid and self-sustaining asbestos mitigation response program. [September 3, 2:15, Continental Ballroom C]

Let’s Talk TAB – Tapping into the Technical Assistance to Brownfields Communities Program -- U.S. EPA's Technical Assistance to Brownfields Communities (TAB) program provides consulting support to communities to help guide them through the brownfields cleanup and redevelopment process.  Learn about the TAB program.  Meet staff from the organizations currently providing technical support to brownfields communities. Learn how you can access this beneficial technical assistance.

Brownfields 2015 Community Reception at Chicago’s Field Museum -- Join your fellow conference participants at the Brownfields 2015 Community Reception.  The reception will take place at Chicago’s Field Museum (a short walk from the Hilton Chicago).  Relax with colleagues and enjoy the wonders of this stunning landmark. After a day of professional development, what better company than 1,000+ of your closest brownfields friends and a 42 foot long T. rex ? Stop by, say hello, and enjoy an evening of friends and fun.  – Tickets Required.  [September 3, 6:00, Field Museum]

Keynote Presentation by Creative Urbanist, Charles Landry -- Charles Landry will lead a session on the use of imagination and creativity for urban change. Landry is an international authority on the use of imagination and creativity in urban change.  In the 1980’s he developed the concept of the “Creative City,” which became a global movement. Landry facilitates complex urban change and visioning processes and undertakes tailored research often creating his own projects. These include the ‘creative city index’ in collaboration with Bilbao, the concept of ‘civic urbanity’ and the ‘creative bureaucracy’ jointly with the South Australian government. [September 4, 8:30 am, International Ballroom]

Heard on the Hill: State and Federal Brownfields Policies -- What is the outlook for federal brownfields funding in FY 2016 and beyond? What are the prospects for reauthorizing the federal brownfields law? What are the opportunities for reinstating the federal brownfields tax incentive? What are the best state brownfield policies and how are they working.  Facilitators will provide insight on what the current Congress means for brownfields policies and funding and the potential for bipartisan progress. [September 4, 9:45, Continental Ballroom A]

Brownfields Data Lab -- New this year, Brownfields 2015 will feature a data lab with up to five live demonstrations each day of the conference. In the data lab, conference participants will see short 15-minute presentations on data, software, and other technology tools that can be used to support your brownfields redevelopment projects. In the Normandie Lounge:

§       Wednesday, September 2 from 1:15-2:30pm

§       Thursday, September 3 from 3:45-5:00pm

§       Friday, September 4 from 9:45-11:00am

The Exhibit Hall -- The National Brownfields Training Conference connects you with thousands of stakeholders and decision makers from the private sector, local, state and federal agencies, nonprofit and community groups, and academia.  This is the largest national event focused on redeveloping brownfield properties and creating more sustainable communities where thousands of industry professionals and decision makers come together to learn the latest in the assessment, remediation, and redevelopment of contaminated sites. Meet brownfields services providers and learn how you can make the best of your brownfields projects by meeting with other focused and engaged brownfields stakeholders.  [September 2 – 4, the Exhibit Hall, Lower Level]

Bring a briefing sheet on your local brownfield priorities – Take the time to create a briefing sheet which fits on one sheet of paper (front and back is ok . . .) describing your community, explaining your brownfield priorities and opportunities, and conveying what you need to move forward on those projects.  The briefing sheet can describe the sites, their planned or potential reuses, their status, the level of stakeholder support for redevelopment, or other important information.  Include graphics of envisioned reuses if available, and make sure to include your contact info.  Print a bunch of these briefing sheets and be ready to spread them far and wide to developers, financers, public and non-profit officials, and other potential supporters at the conference. 

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