In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) marked the 20th anniversary of the Brownfields program and launched its Next Generation Brownfields initiatives to promote improved approaches for supporting American communities in their revitalization efforts.
One initiative is to provide guidance and technical assistance to localities and brownfields practitioners on leveraging resources for brownfields revitalization. This guide explores how communities can prepare to successfully leverage funding and other resources for brownfields revitalization.
Brownfields, abandoned properties, and blight affect communities across America. Grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provide essential funding to communities for brownfields assessment, cleanup, area-wide planning activities, and revolving loan funds.
However, after using the funding available from EPA’s Brownfields program, local communities often struggle to secure adequate resources to complete brownfields revitalization projects. Cleanup costs can be substantial, expensive infrastructure upgrades may be needed to support revitalization efforts, design and engineering costs can be daunting, and redevelopment costs may be prohibitive, especially in distressed or small communities with weak markets and at sites with limited reuse potential.
Many communities struggle to find and attract sufficient funding for brownfields redevelopment projects. It often is difficult for communities to identify how best to invest limited local resources. Sound initial investments of local funds in brownfields revitalization can attract the interest and support of outside investors and lead to additional funding. In addition, finding, understanding, and meeting the qualifications for federal, state, and philanthropic grant and loan programs can be confusing, timeconsuming, and difficult.
EPA developed this guide to assist communities in overcoming these challenges.
What does “leveraging” mean? Essentially, leveraging is the use of existing resources or funding to attract additional resources or funding. Wise use of existing investments may lead to other investments (funding or other types of resources) from other parties. It is a good idea for communities to begin their brownfields redevelopment projects by establishing strong leadership, assembling a team of committed partners, engaging with the citizens, and carefully assessing how to make the best use of limited local dollars so that initial local investments will leverage additional funding.
This guide will help you get started.