Mayor Madeline Rogero on brownfields redevelopment in Knoxville, TN

Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council recently interviewed Madeline Rogero, mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee, to ask her how local governments can catalyze brownfields redevelopment and jumpstart revitalization. In the video above, Rogero discusses how strategic investments by local government have made brownfield sites in Knoxville more attractive to potential developers.

“The key to any redevelopment is the private sector,” says Rogero, a member of the Local Leaders Council’s Advisory Board. “Our role in government…is to make the minimal public investment that will maximize private sector investment. So if we can access brownfields grants, if we can provide some public infrastructure, that’s the catalyst to bring the private sector in.”

In recent years, Knoxville received two brownfields assessment grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to address 24 parcels in the city’s South Waterfront district and Downtown North redevelopment area, an older commercial and industrial corridor. Thanks to those grants, Rogero says, the City has been able to give developers and property owners the certainty they need to move forward with catalytic redevelopment projects.

“We are able to tell the property owners or future buyers exactly what they’re going to get into,” says Rogero. “It really helps them and it also helps prevent regulatory delays when the project is about to start.” Hear more about Knoxville’s strategies for redevelopment by watching the video above.

This video is part of the Local Leaders Council’s “Meet the Experts” video series, which provides information for local leaders interested in learning more about smart growth strategies. Want to learn more about the Local Leaders Council and our “Meet the Experts” videos? Join our mailing list to stay in the know.

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