Helping Create "Green" Redevelopment
The Brownfields Initiative promotes the productive reuse of sites that are currently abandoned or not fully utilized due to contamination on the site. By providing financial assistance for cleaning up these sites, Vermont continues its commitment to environmental stewardship, community investment, and economic growth.
A brownfield is a property for which expansion, redevelopment or reuse is complicated by the presence, or potential presence, of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. Cleaning up and redeveloping these properties into productive, healthy and beneficial community assets requires the close collaboration of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) and the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR).
The Brownfields Revitalization Fund (BRF)
The Environmental Protection Agency awarded funds to the Vermont Brownfields Revitalization Fund (BRF) to sponsor Brownfield Initiative projects. The BRF offers grants and loans for the remediation of brownfield sites. Loan funding is available to private developers, non-profits, and municipalities. Grant funding is only available to non-profits and municipalities.
In addition, to be eligible for BRF money, applicants must meet technical standards set by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Applicants must have completed a Phase I environmental site assessment, and be enrolled in the Brownfields Reuse and Environmental Liability Limitation Program (BRELLA). For an application click here.
Brownfields Economic Revitalization Alliance - BERA
BERA is a joint effort between the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Agency of Natural Resources and the Agency of Transportation. The intent of BERA is to ensure that there is coordinated efforts from the three agencies in order to facilitate the movement of complicated high priority brownfields towards redevelopment. BERA increases coordination between state and federal agencies, regional development corporations, planning commissions, municipal representatives and private sector developers. A team approach enables brownfield revitalization projects that participate in BERA by ensuring that issues are identified and resolved without undue delay. Selected sites receive priority funding from the state, as well as coordinated and timely technical assistance from Agency staff. BERA requires collaboration among developers, lenders, insurers, and federal, state and community leaders; it is imperative to engage planners, scientists, engineers, and attorneys. Ultimately, the goal of the BERA team deployed for each project will be to create solutions to complex problems plaguing the development of key downtown properties. The redevelopment of these projects will create vital, more sustainable communities, preserve historic and architecturally significant structures, create jobs, increase the tax base, and will stimulate further economic recovery by creating an echo effect on surrounding properties.
Pilot projects were selected by a selection committee comprised of developers, RDCs, RPCs and other state representatives. Each project was ranked based on the following criteria:
1. Is the project considered to be a high profile in the community?
- Community need - property is in a key location with contamination that stigmatizes and hinders redevelopment of an area of the Community;
- Community support – the subject of public meetings and town officials are on record supporting the project;
- Is redevelopment of the site part of the regional/municipal plan?
2. Is there a presence of (or potential presence of) complex contaminant issues?
3. Have complex regulatory issues been identified?
4. Will the project need a multitude of funding resources for successful implementation? And, will the project yield positive benefits beyond clean-up that may include job creation or new housing?
5. Are there a myriad of legal issues, that may include:
- legal complications involving a past owner that are not resolved,
- Involvement of multiple responsible parties.
- Need for cost recovery assistance
6. Has the property owner or potential purchaser/developer expressed a need for assistance?
7. Is there commitment at the local and regional level to engage in this redevelopment project?
8. Is the project located in or near a designated downtown, village center or new town center? Or, will redevelopment lead to the use of existing infrastructure?
9. Will the project result in the re-use of an existing historic structure or preserve historic characteristics of the property?
10. What is the potential for the project to stimulate or promote environmental, economic or clean energy goals that would provide benefit to the community and the state.
Pilot projects/Fact sheets: