Denver, Colorado has enjoyed a stable and established economy for many years. The traditional western enterprises of ranching, livestock husbandry and meatpacking gave way to more diverse sources of income and tax generation after World War II. Energy production, tourism and technology firms, along with an investment in the city itself, helped establish Denver as one of the most livable cities in the western United States. Today, the city is referred to as the High-Tech Cow Town because of its traditional western roots and new technology-sector businesses.
Denver was selected as a Showcase Communities. These communities demonstrate the benefits of collaborative activity on federal, state and local levels for brownfields. Within Denver, the neighborhoods of Globeville, Elyria/Swansea and Northeast Parkhill were targeted due to a high number of brownfields. These neighborhoods are heavily impacted by industrial uses and have not benefited from Denver’s growing economy. More than one-third of the 3,979 acres in these neighborhoods is zoned for industrial use.
In 2005, Parkhill Community, Inc., a local nonprofit was selected to receive a $200,000 EPA Brownfields Cleanup grant. Parkhill Community, Inc. is targeting the run-down Dahlia Shopping Center and adjacent residential properties in the Northeast Parkhill neighborhood. In April 2005, the property was purchased by Parkhill Community, Inc., who will direct and oversee the cleanup and demolition of the shopping center under a contract with Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA). In addition, the City of Denver has allocated $3.5 million to DURA for the property’s initial cleanup and demolition in preparation for a sale to potential developers. Cleanup of the Dahlia Square Shopping Center site will allow the community to proceed with its plans to sell the property for redevelopment into a mix of attached residential units, senior housing, and commercial and civic facilities. This revitalization is expected to provide jobs and market-rate housing to a growing area of the city.
To date, many federal agencies are involved in the efforts to remediate and redevelop brownfields properties in the City of Denver. The federal partners involved include:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA has awarded over $3 million to further brownfields redevelopment strategies in Denver and the surrounding communities, including the following grants and pilots:
- A 1997 $350,000 Brownfields Cleanup and Revolving Loan Fund awarded to Commerce City and north metro Denver area to clean up, redevelop and reuse the area’s brownfields.
- A 1997 Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot and 2000 Supplemental Assistance Pilot for a total of $350,000 awarded to Englewood to address many of the Denver area’s heavy manufacturing industrial challenges.
- A 1997 $175,000 Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot for the Sand Creek Corridor; a 20-square mile area located in Northeast Denver which is heavily impacted by industry.
- A 1999 $1.7 million Brownfields Cleanup RLF awarded to the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment for the Coalition of Cities of Englewood, Lakewood, Loveland and Denver.
- A 1998 and 2005 Brownfields grants totally $600,000 awarded to Lakewood, a city on the western edge of Denver, where the decline of the DL&G rail lines left a legacy of deteriorating industrial and commercial districts on the once prominent mile-wide transit corridor.
In addition, the City of Denver has received grant fund to assess and clean up these sites from the Underground Storage Tank (UST) program, USTfields. To date, over $30 million has been raised to pay for the project’s cleanup and redevelopment costs, including support from:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provided $40 million in grants and loan guarantees for Denver brownfields projects, including Economic Development Initiative, Section 108 loans and Community Development Block Grant Funds.
U.S. Department of Commerce-Economic Development Administration
The Economic Development Administration provided a number of inner-city redevelopment grants, including one for $800,000 for the Northside Treatment Plant project.
U.S. Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy helped Denver research the concept of eco-industrial parks and sustainable development for the Northside Treatment Plant.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked with Denver to revitalize the South Platte River Corridor. The project has identified 16 potential brownfields sites along the South Platte River for potential remediation and development.
U.S. Department of Defense: Army National Guard
The National Guard contributed federal funds towards the construction of an armory on the Northside Treatment Plant property.
The counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, West Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie are all part of the southeast Florida region. These counties have experienced large population growth in the past two decades and serve as a gateway for North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. In addition, this region of Florida is known for its subtropical and natural environment, being a major tourist destination and its multicultural community.
The Eastward Ho! Initiative was established in 1995 to direct future growth to the region’s urban core and away from the threatened Everglades ecosystem to the west. Eastward Ho! was designated as a Brownfields Showcase Community in 1998. The Eastward Ho! Brownfields Partnership is comprised of local, state, regional and federal government agencies, as well as public, private and nonprofit community organizations in southeast Florida.
The Eastward Ho! corridor spans approximately 115 miles along the eastern portions of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties and has a combined population of more than two million. While the entire corridor is not characterized by poverty, it does contain communities that are severely distressed. Three state-designated Enterprise Zones fall within the corridor and much of the Miami-Dade County portion of the corridor is located within a federally designated Enterprise Community. The corridor, which developed between and around the CSX and Florida West Coast Railroads, contains more than 2,100 known contaminated sites, varying widely in size, degree and type of contamination.
By focusing on efforts to preserve the Everglades and other natural resources through infill development, urban revitalization and economic development, brownfields cleanup and redevelopment projects are the center of the Eastward Ho! Initiative.
The Eastward Ho! Brownfields Partnership has a commitment of achieving the following goals:
- Promoting environmental justice
- Establishing processes to achieve timely, productive and sustainable reuse of brownfields properties as they are identified
- Approaching brownfields in the context of broader regional economic development, neighborhood development, environmental protection and urban revitalization objectives
- Implementing participatory solutions involving residents and neighbors of contaminated sites
To date, the partnership has held several successful regional conferences which target private investment, intergovernmental partnerships and community outreach techniques and methods. In addition, according to EPA data, environmental assessment activities have started on over 260 properties and over $190 million dollars have been leveraged for redevelopment or construction activities. Currently, activities are focusing on helping communities structure deals to redevelop brownfields, increasing private sector involvement in brownfields redevelopment activities and fostering partnerships.
Federal partners and their varied contributions have been a cornerstone of the Eastward Ho! Initiative. The Federal Partners involved in the project include:
U.S. Department of Agriculture: U.S. Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service provided technical assistance through the Natural Resources Conservation Service to the South Florida Community – Urban Resources Partnership.
U.S. Department of Commerce: Economic Development Administration
The Economic Development Administration allocated a Local Technical Assistance Planning Grant of $30,000 to develop a Southeast Florida Brownfields Resource Directory. In addition, $24,000 was provided to develop a framework for the brownfields toolbox/information guide.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) provided technical assistance on how to obtain assistance, contracting and assessments from USACE offices in Jacksonville.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences awarded a Brownfields Minority Worker Training Program grant of approximately $200,000 to Clark Atlanta University to target two counties in the Eastward Ho! project area. In total, over 40 students graduated from the course.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Through Miami-Dade County’s Enterprise Zone designation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided $3 million in funding and $130 million in tax-exempt bond authority over 10 years. In addition, HUD provided technical assistance primarily in the areas of brownfields, affordable housing and economic development.
Additional HUD funds were received by Miami-Dade County through a Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) grant of $1.75 million (with a $5 million Section 108 guaranteed loan) and an Economic Development Initiative (EDI) grant of $2 million (with a $40 million Section 108 guaranteed loan).
HUD’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program contributed $400,000 to the Hemispheric Center for Environmental Technology at Florida International University to assist the city of Opa-Locka to redevelop a contaminated vacant lot into a community gymnasium. Opa-Locka will provide $400,000 in matching funds. Miami-Dade County has established a revolving loan fund of $300,000 from recaptured Community Development Block Grant funds to assist with brownfields assessments that will lead to redevelopment activities.
U.S. Department of Justice: Executive Office of Weed and Seed
The Executive Office of Weed and Seed established two Weed and Seed target areas: one in Miami/Miami-Dade County and one in Fort Lauderdale.
U.S. Department of Transportation
The U.S. Department of Transportation provided technical assistance to the Broward County and Palm Beach County Metropolitan Planning Organizations.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided over $2 million to further brownfields redevelopment strategies in the Eastward Ho! communities, including the following grants and agreements:
- Awarded the Southeast Florida/Eastward Ho! Brownfields Partnership with a Brownfields Showcase Community Pilot grant of $200,000 and an additional $200,000 for a two-year federal employee assignment to work in the offices of the South Florida Regional Planning Commission.
- A $200,000 Brownfields Job Training and Development Demonstration Pilot grant to Miami-Dade Community College and general technical assistance on brownfields-related issues in the EPA South Florida Office.
- Miami-Dade County Brownfields Assessment and Demonstration Pilot grant of $200,000 (including $65,000 in supplemental funding and a $50,000 Targeted Brownfields Site Assessment Project).
- An interagency agreement with USACE and $76,000 in funding to perform brownfields-related activities in Miami-Dade County.
- A Brownfields Assessment and Demonstration Pilot grant of $100,000 awarded to the City of Miami with supplemental funding of $135,000.
- A 2001 EPA RLF Pilot grant of $500,000 to the South Florida Regional Planning Council.
- Targeted Brownfields Site Assessment Project funding of $50,000 awarded to North Miami Beach.
- Technical assistance through EPA Region 4 with the Miami River Parcel Inventory and Assessment Project.
- A Brownfields Assessment and Demonstration Pilot grant of $200,000 awarded to Fort Lauderdale.
- A Brownfields Assessment and Demonstration Pilot grant of $250,000 awarded to Opa-Locka (including an additional $50,000 through a Targeted Brownfields Site Assessment Project to fund projects at up to seven sites).
- An interagency agreement with USACE and $200,000 in funding to perform brownfields-related activities with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
- A 2005 Brownfields Cleanup grant of $200,000 awarded to the City of Homestead.
U.S. General Services Administration
The U.S. General Services Administration provided technical assistance on how to use surplus federal property.