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  • 14 Sep 2018 10:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By John Penney, Norwich Bulletin (CT)

    Several University of Connecticut students will be helping Plainfield officials during the next several months with brownfield assessment work, part of a college training program aimed helping towns transform abandoned and polluted properties into viable real estate.

    The town was one of seven municipalities and state councils of governments named as a recipient of the Connecticut Brownfields Initiative municipal grant program, town Planning & Zoning Supervisor Mary Ann Chinatti said.

    “This is the first year of this initiative, so it’s awesome we were chosen,” she said. “The students – there should be four assigned to each recipient – will work with us for a semester.”

    For the entire article, see

    http://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/20180905/uconn-students-to-help-with-plainfield-brownfield-documentation

  • 06 Sep 2018 11:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Mike Reuther, Williamsport Sun-Gazette (PA)

    A state Department of Environmental Protection pilot program to restore and repurpose brownfield sites includes remedial work needed to connect walking and bicycle trails in Lycoming County.

    The plan was briefly shared by Randy Farmerie, DEP environmental cleanup and brownfields program manager, with the Environment Justice Advisory Board Tuesday.

    The Susquehanna River Walk starts in Montoursville and extends through the city of Williamsport to Susquehanna State Park. Plans are to eventually extend the path to connect to the Pine Creek Rail Trail path in Jersey Shore that runs north along Pine Creek.

    For the entire article, see

    http://www.sungazette.com/news/top-news/2018/08/brownfield-restoration-project-eyed-for-county/

  • 05 Sep 2018 11:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer 

    We recently shone a light on a greenhouse in Springfield, Massachusetts. Built on a former brownfield, it’s proving to have multiple advantages -- from reducing the carbon footprint to sourcing fresh produce locally to providing an economic boost to the local community.  

    Not far from this site in Providence, Rhode Island, there’s an urban flower farm -- What Cheer Flower Farm, incorporated last October -- that has similar characteristics and is making equal progress as a difference-maker in the local community.

    Besides brightening people’s lives with free flowers, the non-profit’s mission of the farm includes reversing urban blight, creating a job training center for Rhode Island residents to help them enter the state’s $2.5 billion green economy and making Providence famous for urban flower farming.

    This site has come a long way, and it’s a testament to hard work and proactive diligence -- thinking outside the box. The 2.7-acre property, a former brownfield with industrial activity, had been neglected and was rife with wind-blown trash until three local Providence businesswomen bought the derelict property for $525,000. After the sale became final, the first two essential items that the owners brought to the site were a port-a-potty and a truckload of compost.

    The owners and a team of volunteers ripped up poison ivy by gloved hand and brought in a tractor to help tear down the overgrowth. The empty factory with a brick facade, largely vacant since the 1990s, had no running water or electricity and had been covered in graffiti. It was a victim of arson and has been gutted of all scrap metal.

    In addition to the central headline of this project—that being “owner/developers help restore an abandoned eyesore and put into productive reuse”—there’s a sidebar: The way that local community volunteers joined together to take ownership of this blighted, abandoned and dilapidated (BAD) property during the crucial formative period was commendable. 

    Think about how many former brownfields sit in disarray, ignored by a local community, including the local government, because there are other more pressing matters to attend to. 

    This was pointed out as I recall  during an informative educational session delivered by Patrick Kirby, director of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, at the 2015 EPA Brownfield Conference in Chicago. Patrick discussed the “BAD” concept and how volunteerism around a former brownfield in several WV communities during the so-called limbo period made a significant difference in restoring civic pride and curtailing potential vandalism. Volunteers who put sweat equity into these types of efforts even help facilitate, and expedite, a buyer-developer to step forward. 

    Kirby discussed how in several communities in WV that had BAD properties, volunteers worked in shifts to regularly mow grass, pick up trash and keep an eye out for vagrants that might populate the property. 

    The same approach was taken in Providence at the urban flower farm, and the result is a very productive business that’s making a world of difference in the local community. What Cheer Flower Farm commenced its growing season in June. The seeds had to be planted late in the season because there was significant work to oversee as the property was covered in pavement. Some 4,000 square feet of parking lot had to be torn up and transformed into an organic raised-bed field of flowers, both perennial and annual. 

    The results are a budding success: The nonprofit flower farm has two full-time farmers supported by an army of volunteers to grow organic flowers on this former brownfield site. The proprietors give their product away to people who deserve flowers but don’t have access. To supply those people who deserve flowers, What Cheer Flower Farm has partnered with Amos House, the Ronald McDonald House of Providence, and Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island. The owners deliver bouquets and buckets of cut flowers to these institutions and other partners.

    About 90% of the flowers currently being grown at the farm were started from seed by one of the owners in her kitchen and in a friend’s basement. The rest of the plants were donated by Green Animals Topiary Garden in a nearby community. The farm doesn’t plan on growing vegetables as it doesn’t want to compete with Southside Community Land Trust and other urban farmers.

    Where a dilapidated building now stands, the co-founders envision a barn, classroom space, an office and space for lease. 

    What Cheer Flower Farm has applied for a brownfield remediation grant with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. An ongoing inventory assessment didn’t find elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The owners have worked with the National Resources Conservation Service and David Foss of Wilcox & Barton Inc., a Vermont-based environmental consulting firm.

    Indeed, the new urban flower farm is making huge inroads in the Providence community and doing so on many levels.  There are testimonials that bear this out. On What Cheer Flower Farm’s Facebook page, a happy visitor to the site not only assigned it a “like” but gave the urban flower garden some love. “I had to see it to believe it! It’s true, it’s true... Flowers growing and giving life to a place that hasn’t seen the blessing of the sunshine in a long time,” the post stated. 

  • 30 Aug 2018 10:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Iulia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive

    • The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) released new guidance for municipalities developing solar projects on landfills or brownfields, to maximize expansion on underutilized land and the state's efforts to increase renewable generation.
    • The leasing instructions and templates in the Municipal Solar Procurement Toolkit reflect a lower threshhold of environmental review for projects on brownfields and landfills due to recent updates from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
    • In June, the DEC adopted a rulemaking package to streamline the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) regulations, which does not require contractors to make formal assessments of environmental impacts of solar projects on brownfields. As the first update to SEQR in more than two decades, the changes, including the brownfield component, will take effect January 1, 2019.

    For the entire article, see

    https://www.utilitydive.com/news/new-york-unveils-new-toolkit-to-drive-solar-on-brownfields/530856/

  • 29 Aug 2018 9:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On August 24, 2018, Raymond Cantor, BCONE Designee to NRD Task Force, submitted a letter on behalf of BCONE outlining a policy proposal regarding liability protection of innocent redevelopers from natural resource damages. The letter can be viewed here: BCONE-NRD-Letter-08-24-18.pdf

  • 29 Aug 2018 9:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Brian C. Mannino, P.E., GEI Consultants

    The New Jersey chapter of the Society of Women Environmental Professionals (SWEP) and the Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE) hosted an event at the Roebling Museum on Wednesday, August 15, 2018.  The event included a guided tour of the museum and the video on the history of the Roebling Steel Mill.  

    In 1848, John Roebling moved his wire rope business and family to Trenton, NJ. The John A. Roebling's Sons Company became the world’s leading producer of wire rope, with four factories and nearly 8,000 employees at its peak, inspiring the motto: “Trenton Makes, the World Takes.’’ Due to competition, 115 acres of land in Florence, NJ (in what is now known as the village of Roebling, NJ) were purchased for the creation of the Roebling Steel Mill, that opened In 1904.  In addition to the mill, a town for mill employees was constructed with over 750 houses, a general store and bars.  The museum is located in the former main gate house for the mill, one of the few mill structures that remain on the site.

    The Roebling Museum, which opened in 2009, presents the history of the John A. Roebling’s Sons Company, including the Roebling Steel Mill, the Roebling family, and the Roebling community.  John A. Roebling & Sons Company produced wire rope used in the construction of numerous suspension bridges in the US, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the Cincinnati-Covington Bridge, and the Golden Gate Bridge.  

    Among the Roebling family members honored is the wife of Washington Roebling, Emily Warren Roebling.  Mrs. Roebling assumed many of Washington’s responsibilities while he recovered from decompression sickness (the bends, or caisson sickness as it was known at the time) during the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.  She served as one of the first field engineers, and was instrumental in the construction of the bridge.  When the bridge was completed in 1883, she was the first to cross the bridge. The Roebling family owned the mill until 1952, when it was sold to Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.  Operations ceased in 1974.  

    In 1982, the federal government declared the 200-acre steel plant a Superfund site. Environmental investigations at the site began and  cleanup activities followed in 1987. Most of the site has been remediated through a combination of soil excavation and capping, with dredging work performed in Crafts Creek and the Delaware River Back Channel.  In addition to the museum, the cleanup created a 37-acre park where once slag heaps and sludge lagoons stood.  Now there are green fields and pathways along which strollers can enjoy the scenic views of the Delaware River.

  • 24 Aug 2018 1:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer 

    On the hierarchy of best practices for urban reuse and redevelopment, there are obvious, essential touchstones: Vision, collaboration, flexibility, fund-raising acumen—and you comprehend them well. 

    How about “perseverance?” It’s not often appreciated in the brownfields redevelopment realm as an essential element for achieving the endgame. But think about how many projects didn’t move forward over the years because stakeholders had no other choice but to cut and run. There are a host of case examples to cite. Oft-times, a project that was snuffed out after beginning to move through the development cycle occurred from extenuating circumstances—ones outside the control of the stakeholders. 

    A $39 million project in Clarion County, Pa—the GlassWorks Business Park—has had a long and protracted history—and a positive outcome as it was announced that construction finally commenced in June. 

    This project entails converting a 28.5-acre brownfield site, formerly housing the Owens-Illinois Glass Plant, into a compound with seven building pads ready for development. 

    “After five years of planning, we’re finally to a point where we can bring opportunity back to Clarion,” said Theron L. Miles, Owner and Project Director at Miles Brothers LLC, in a statement. “When the glass plant closed, our community suffered a devastating loss. This impacted not only the employees that worked on this property but our entire economy. Today marks a new beginning for our town to achieve growth and prosperity. The GlassWorks Business Park would still be only a vision without the help and support we’ve received from our political leaders and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.”

    Perseverance personified. 

    Property owner Miles Brothers LLC and the Clarion County Industrial Development Authority partnered to develop the land into seven pads suitable for office, warehouse, or light industrial use by installing utilities, lighting, and water and sewer infrastructure and excavating, grading, and paving the sites. DCED has committed a $1.03 million Business in Our Sites grant and a $4. 25 million for Business in Our Sites low-interest loan to the project that Miles Brothers credits for enabling the project to happen.

    At its peak, more than 1,500 Clarion-area residents worked in the Owens-Illinois Glass Plant, which manufactured a variety of glass containers like jars and bottles. It closed in 2010 after 105 years in the community, and the facility was partially demolished in 2012, leaving behind a brownfield site that requires extensive remediation.

    “This is a great example of a community turning a significant challenge, the closing of the glass plant in 2010, into an opportunity for an economic driver for the entire region,” Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Davin said. “Governor Wolf is committed to ensuring Clarion and Pennsylvania as a whole is a great place for all residents to live and work, and this project supports critical job growth that will enable members of the Clarion community to work locally and continue to live in the place they have called home.”

    Many with a stake know that the result of the closing of the glass plant in 2010 was devastating to not only Clarion Borough, but all of Clarion County. But thanks to all the touchstones involved in reuse and redevelopment that were well executed—including stick-to-itiveness—the clarion call in Clarion County was heard. 

    EDITOR’S NOTE:  If you have other stories about former glass plants, please share them with BCONE.  We know that the glass industry was huge throughout our geographic footprint, including Southern NJ and upstate NY. 

  • 17 Aug 2018 10:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By JIM KRENCIK, Batavia Daily News (NY)

    The financing structure of the proposed residential, commercial and brewing campus at Ellicott Station remains unresolved, but the design of the mixed-use project has been finalized.

    “Subtle changes” forwarded by Savarino Companies to meet the requests of the State’s Homes and Community Renewal - one of the multitude of public and private financiers of the $20 million projects - met the approval of the Genesee County Planning Board Thursday.

    Courtney Cox, a development associate at the Buffalo-based developer-contractor, said the guidelines of HCR led to the project’s residential units being increased from 51 to 55. The reasoning was that the state sets a square-footage maximum for single-bedroom units to ensure funding has the maximum impact, and four more could be fit into the proposed footprint.

    For the entire article, see

    http://www.thedailynewsonline.com/bdn01/closing-still-looms-but-ellicott-station-plans-all-set-20180810

  • 15 Aug 2018 9:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Jonathan D. Epstein, Buffalo News (NY)

    The city agency responsible for cleaning up, managing and redeveloping brownfield properties has barely owned the a century-old former manufacturing property in Riverside for a few weeks, and the property's neighbor already is interested in buying a significant piece of the 7-acre site.

    The Buffalo Urban Development Corp. bought the former sewing machine and television manufacturing plant at 308 Crowley Ave., paying $50,000 in June to take on the abandoned site.

    The property includes both vacant land and about 300,000 square feet of existing but deteriorating buildings that can't be reused. Officials planned to demolish most of the brick buildings that still remain – except for a historic clock tower – before remediating and clearing the site for future use, said BUDC President Peter Cammarata.

    For the entire article see

    https://buffalonews.com/2018/08/03/budc-has-interested-buyer-for-part-of-crowley-facility/

  • 15 Aug 2018 9:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Frank Carini,  eco’Ri News (RI)

    The place was a complete mess, but a trio of determined women was going to buy it anyway, as soon as the seller removed about 50 tattered mattresses from the dilapidated building.

    The 2.7-acre property was covered with wind-blown trash. More than a year later, the three women are still picking up broken glass. In fact, when they ask volunteers to help with the property’s rehabilitation, children are not welcome, at least not yet.

    They ripped up poison ivy by gloved hand, and brought in a tractor to help tear down the overgrowth. The empty factory with a brick facade, largely vacant since the 1990s, has no running water or electricity, is covered in graffiti, has been the victim of arson, and has been gutted of all scrap metal.

    For the entire article, see

    https://www.ecori.org/smart-growth/2018/8/3/new-urban-farm-gives-back-to-community-literally

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