|Atlantic Station in Atlanta in 1971, today a superb example of a successful brownfield restoration.|
The economic downturn changed the landscape of communities across the country — creating growing numbers of abandoned homes, shuttered auto manufacturing plants, and vacant land parcels. Distressed and economically disadvantaged areas have been hit worst of all, and more communities than ever are in desperate need of revitalization planning, clean-up for contaminated land, and help dealing with abandoned property.
For that reason, Smart Growth America and other revitalization advocates applauded President Obama’s FY2011 budget for the EPA brownfields program today, which demonstrated a keen awareness of the desperate need in cities across the country to clean up vacant properties and reclaim polluted industrial sites as community assets. The Obama Administration’s proposed $40 million dollar increase for the program is aimed specifically at funding pilot projects that will give disadvantaged communities the resources to create holistic brownfield redevelopment plans.
Those plans will help link the cleanup of individual sites to broader community goals: creating jobs, promoting equitable development, and inspiring private investment, all while protecting human health and the environment. In a statement, Smart Growth America President Geoff Anderson said there was no better time than the present to fund this work to clean up brownfields and restore them to productive assets for communities:
“This is the perfect time to clean up brownfields. Brownfields have a longer lead time before they are development-ready, and investing now will mean that we’ll have more sites ready to accommodate growth in a responsible and sustainable fashion when the real estate market is ready to grow again,” he said.