Brownfields is a term used to describe real estate that is contaminated or perceived to be contaminated by hazardous substances or petroleum in soil or groundwater. The complexity and cost of cleanup creates an obstacle to redevelopment or reuse of the property.
Brownfields examples include closed landfills, abandoned gas stations, old manufacturing facilities, and former dry cleaning facilities. The cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields brings many economic development benefits to a community. Redevelopment creates jobs, increases property values, reduces potential health risks, and revitalizes neighborhoods.
Caption: Cleanup of landfill prior to construction of Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area.
Since 1998, more than $293 million in private investment has restored approximately 275 acres of previously contaminated land and created or maintained over 3,300 jobs. In addition, 21 sites have been redeveloped for public uses, such as parks.
The goal of the program is to reduce obstacles and provide assistance for redevelopment of brownfields in the city.
The program is managed by the Office of Environmental Programs and has two components:
1) assistance to city departments for redevelopment of contaminated sites for public use, and
2) assistance to the private sector for redevelopment of sites that benefit the community by reducing environmental exposures, job creation, services, and revitalizing neighborhoods.
Caption: View of Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
A single point of contact provides technical assistance, serves as an advocate and liaison between city departments, other government agencies, and participating partners. The program is available citywide, with a focus on several geographic areas where economic revitalization is a goal, including designated redevelopment areas, neighborhood initiative areas, the Rio Salado Beyond the Banks Area, the West Phoenix Revitalization Area, Infill Incentive Area, Downtown, and transit-oriented development districts. Please see Program Eligibility Requirements for details on how to qualify for brownfields assistance.
Community awareness and involvement are important factors in cleaning up and developing brownfields properties. The city's Neighborhood Services Department, through its extensive network of neighborhood specialists and outreach efforts, is available for access to local community groups and neighborhood associations.
Expedited plan review is available to all brownfields projects through the Planning and Development Department. This program is designed to simplify the permitting process and to promote an expedited review schedule. Other financial assistance from the city may be available through the city's Small Business Assistance Program. The city also may assist program participants in locating other forms of assistance, such as the New Market Tax Credit Loan Program, IDA financing, SBA loans, Job Training Partnership Act benefits and Enterprise Zone tax credits.