Partnership in the News: 20 communities receive grants to plan for brownfield cleanup and reuse

Groundwork Hudson Valley
Groundwork Hudson Valley, which help residents reclaim and revitalize communities with great need, is one of this year’s grant recipients.Photo via Groundwork Hudson Valley.

Twenty communities looking to bolster their economy by revitalizing abandoned land will have the help of a 2013 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week.

EPA’s Brownfields Area-Wide Planning program provides funding for research, technical assistance and training that will result in an area-wide plan and implementation strategy for key brownfield sites. EPA launched the program in 2010 with the goal of adopting a broader approach to brownfield redevelopment.


Join us for a webinar: What the BUILD Act could build

Harrison Commons in Harrison, NJ. Last month, Senators Lautenberg (D-NJ), Inhofe (R-OK), Crapo (R-ID), and Udall (D-NM) introduced the Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2013. The legislation would reauthorize EPA’s Brownfields Program, as well as expand non-profit eligibility to receive brownfields grants and allow the EPA to award flexible multipurpose grants … Continued


National Brownfields Coalition seeks members for Remediation Tax Expensing committee

Medpace moved their 700-employee headquarters to Cincinnati and used the tax expensing program to overcome $3.0 million in cleanup costs. Photo via

Brownfields professionals and coalition members are invited to join a new committee of the National Brownfields Coalition dedicated to re-implementing the Section 198 Remediation Tax Expensing program.

The Committee is organizing support from communities that have benefited from the program, and is providing information to Congress on the past impacts and the future potential of the program. The Committee has already organized a sign-on letter in support of the measure and hosted a webcast about the issue with our partner NALGEP. The webcast includes many project examples, including the Medpace office and research laboratory pictured above, which was built on a 29-acre parcel in Cincinnati that was once contaminated. Medpace has 750 employees at the site with plans for future expansion.


Join Smart Growth America for two events during the National Brownfields Conference

Brownfields conference banner

The National Brownfields Conference is the largest event in the country that focuses on environmental revitalization and economic redevelopment of contaminated land. This year’s conference will be held May 15-17, 2013 in Atlanta, GA, and Smart Growth America is hosting two events for conference participants.


What the BUILD Act could build: Tassafaronga Village in Oakland, CA

Image: Matthew Millman

Tassafaronga Village has brought affordable and accessible housing to east Oakland, California, and created bright public space and environmentally innovative design on land that was once contaminated.

In 1945 the U.S. government developed the land and built temporary housing for wartime workers in Oakland’s shipyards. In 1964, the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) acquired the property and replaced the original structures with 87 public housing units: grim low-rise concrete buildings in a barren hardscape.


Upcoming Webinars: April 2013

Want to learn about new, innovative strategies for creating great places? Several upcoming webinars provide ideas and inspiration for local leaders.

Food Access & Health Impacts: Trends and New Research
Thursday, April 4, 2013 – 2:00-3:00 PM EDT
Click here to register
Limited retail access to healthy foods affects the dietary patterns and health outcomes of many Americans. Join this webinar, hosted by PolicyLink, to learn how new research and evaluation practices are helping to generate fresh solutions that stimulate change in local communities.


What the BUILD Act could build: Hope Tree Nursery in Providence, RI

Image courtesy Groundwork Providence

In Providence, Rhode Island, on the site of a former factory, an urban nursery is helping make the whole city more green.

Hope Tree Nursery is the first financially self-sustaining nursery constructed on a brownfield in the United States. The site was once home the Rau Fastener Company on Sprague Street, southwest of Downtown Providence.Years of producing metal fasteners left the site contaminated with heavy metals and today, Sprague Street is part of an economically distressed community lacking green space. Known as a “legacy city,” the area is characterized by the vestiges of a past, productive era.


Advocating for great places: Smart Growth America and coalition partners visit Capitol Hill

Federal decisions about development, infrastructure and transportation impact communities across the country, and no one has a better understanding of how those decisions play out than the members of Smart Growth America’s national coalition.

Coalition members from across the country came together last week in Washington, DC to ask members of Congress to support the federal programs that are helping communities across the country achieve their economic development goals.


What the BUILD Act could build: Harrison Commons in New Jersey

Harrison Commons in Harrison, NJ.

The redevelopment of Harrison, NJ’s waterfront from abandoned industrial buildings into a viable mixed-use development seemed inconceivable only a few years ago.

Strategically located along several rail lines, on the Passaic River and only a few miles from New York City, Harrison once boomed with factories and manufacturing in the first half of the 20th century. In 1912, President William Howard Taft nicknamed Harrison the “Beehive of Industry.”

The town still keeps Taft’s catchphrase as it’s motto, but much of the manufacturers that once called Harrison home have long since closed their doors, leaving behind abandoned factories and large swaths of vacant – and in some places contaminated, land.


Why today is the day to speak out for the BUILD Act

Every day is a good day to clean up a brownfield.

Cleaning up brownfields benefits everyone – parents, professionals, business owners, local leaders and more.

Land that was once contaminated and abandoned can be transformed into parks, community centers, concert venues or any number of other ideas. There’s never a bad day to start these projects.

Today in particular is special, though.

Smart Growth America is on Capitol Hill today, along with our national coalition of allied non-profits. We’re there in person to ask Congress to support the BUILD Act.

Add your voice to our call for action: tell your senators to support the BUILD Act.

In our meetings today, we’ll be talking about places like Harrison, NJ, which is turning an abandoned industrial area into a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood served by transit.