Springfield, like all communities, has properties that are abandoned, under-used or blighted. These properties, or Brownfields, are everywhere, in both urban and rural areas. They come in all sizes, a Brownfield property can be:
The old former lumberyard
The corner feed mill abandoned in the 1950s
The vacant city lot where the old factory burned down when "Dad was a kid"
suffer from the perception of environmental problems. In reality, most
have excellent business locations, existing infrastructure and access to
transportation. Due to fear of the unknown, buyers, lenders and
developers pass over these properties for those appearing "less risky."
Merely the fear of environmental contamination and regulatory
intervention has been enough to hinder or stop redevelopment of these
once vital community areas.
Assessment Demonstration Grants from the United States Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) aid in removing fear by helping communities
identify and measure their Brownfields. Using environmental testing, a
site can be properly identified as having actual environmental concerns
or merely the perception of such. Once the true scope of any
environmental issues is determined, communities can deal with problems.
men and crane removing large underground fuel tank
One of the EPA's duties is enforcement of laws which help protect
public health and the environment. However, since 1995, EPA's
Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative has also offered proactive
help to communities and business. This is demonstrated by EPA grants
which help sort the numerous Brownfields properties from those very few
that require regulatory intervention. These grants help communities make
environmental restoration a manageable part of local redevelopment,
separate and complimentary to EPA's enforcement mission.
"...real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may
be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous
substance, pollutant, or contaminant." - Public Law 107-118 (H.R. 2869) -
"Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act",
January 11, 2002.