ACTIVITY METHOD SINDICAT ORS RESULTS LESSONS LEARNED(1) Establish a tri-city non-profit organization to manage the Brownfields pilot.- Incorporate the tri-city Brownfields task force which was an outgrowth of the community coalitions and planning process that developed an application for an Empowerment Zone grant (did not receive funding).- Northwest Indiana Brownfields Project, Inc. adopted Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws in the Spring of 1996.- Office space donated by National City Bank of East Chicago, one of the participating stakeholders.
– Executive director hired July 1996
– The Institute for responsible management is managing brownfields redevelopment from within a non-profit corporation that has brownfields redevelopment as its singular function has both benefits and drawbacks. Such an organization is not directly influenced or encumbered by local political and bureaucratic circumstances, and is freer to chart its own course. On the other hand the absence of a formal link with any of the three cities it serves can rob the brownfields redevelopment effort of the status and clout associated with one of the municipal entities. Long-term survival of brownfields redevelopment also poses questions for this model. The pilot will continue to asesss these issues.(2) Develop and implement extensive opportunities for community participation.- Maintain strong representation of citizens and other community stakeholders on the Board and committees of the Northwest Indiana Brownfields Redevelopment Project, Inc.
– Establish overall Task Force for annual review and accountability to the three communities.
– Conduct public meetings and hearings relating to Brownfields redevelopment activities to obtain input on what members of the general public would like to see occur on Brownfields sites.
– Distribute notices and proceedings of meetings widely.
– Develop and distribute brownfields educational materials to community, business, industry, and other stakeholder groups.
– Establish community resource centers for brownfields activities in each of the three member cities.
– Membership of Board and Board Committees include representatives appointed by the administrations of the three Indiana cities, a community involvement specialist from a local community organization, representatives from the technical, financial, and industrial communities, and a citizen representative from each community.
– Committees are: Finance, Community Participation, Planning, Legislative/ Regulatory, and Technical.
– Board and Committee meetings are held monthly.
– Task Force membership is open to all people who reside, work, or own a business in any of the three municipalities. Everyone is considered a member. Meetings are held annually.
– Educational seminar on brownfields clean-up and development held for State legislators (December 1996)
– Educational seminar for State legislators was well received and a second may be scheduled.
– State legislators have been receptive to pilot input on legislative proposals.
– Responses at the public meetings indicated an interest in securing jobs for community residents in exchange for tax abatements allowed the companies.
Activity (2) continued.– Educational seminar on brownfields cleanup and development held for State legislators (December 1996)
– Mailing distribution list extensive, but differs based on the type of material being sent. (Public meeting announcements would have mailing lists exceeding 100; committee meeting announcements less)
– Articles published in local newspapers.
– Radio and Cable TV talk show appearances.
(3) Select three sites for Brownfields redevelopment, one from each member city- Board of NWI Brownfields Redevelopment Project, Inc. to set general criteria for selection of three final sites.
– The initial list was developed by the Economic Development Departments of each city. Then public meetings would be held in each city to select sites within their own jurisdiction for consideration by the Site Selection Task Force of the Northwest Indiana Brownfields Redevelopment Project, Inc.
– General criteria for selection of final three sites:
— Community benefit
— Revenue generation
— Job creation.
– Public meetings were held in each of the three cities to discuss potential sites.
— 3 meetings held in East Chicago
— 3 meetings in Hammond (to select site and discuss reuse)
— 2 meetings held in Gary
– Sites Selected:
East Chicago – American Steel Foundry: 20 acres, undeveloped
Hammond – Westpoint Industrial Park: 74 acres, former slag dump.
Gary – Gary Machine site: 37 acres, $680,000 in tax delinquency, firm in bankruptcy court, but a highly marketable site despite contamination and other problems.
– Each site requires a different redevelopment strategy. The status of each property varies, whether it is publicly or privately owned, tax delinquent or not, in bankruptcy proceedings or not, and so forth. There is no “cookie cutter” approach.(4) Develop a database on Brownfields properties in the three cities and inform communities on findings- Strategy for database in the process of being developed.
– Database to be maintained by Pilot Manager/ Executive Director of Northwest Indiana Brownfields Redevelopment Project.
– Information collection has begun.(5) Conduct site assessments of candidate properties, identify current and past owners, investigate historic land use, and design remediation plans for each selected site.- Identify organization to perform Brownfields Environmental Assessments (BEA) on sites.
– Technical Committee of the Northwest Indiana Redevelopment Project held meeting to discuss environmental data relating to Hammond Westpoint Industrial site.
Results of completed site assessments:
– American Steel Foundry (East Chicago): Minimal contamination found upon site environmental assessment.
– Westpoint Industrial Park (Hammond): Little cleanup necessary, owner to enter State of Indiana Voluntary Remediation Program
Site will receive a Certificate of Completion and a Covenant Not to Sue from the State.
– Site assessments conducted on East Chicago and Hammond Sites. Gary site environmental assessment to be conducted in the near future.
– Site assessments funded through the State of Indiana brownfields pilot.
– Collaboration with State of Indiana made leverage of State brownfields pilot funds for environmental assessment possible.(6) Obtain technical expertise to evaluate existing remediation technologies and assist in the design of remediation strategies.- Technical Committee established as part of the committee structure of the Northwest Indiana Brownfields Project, Inc.- Presentations by the Technical Committee of the Board have been received well by those participating in the public meetings.(7) Develop a resource manual to provide guidance relating to and to promote investment in Brownfields redevelopment in Northwest Indiana.- The Board’s Strategic Planning Committee will develop this strategy later in the process of the pilot.(8) Establish a revolving loan fund as a mechanism to provide for current and future financing of site assessments.- Legal counsel will be contracted on a consulting basis for determining how to establish, operate, and maintain the fund.- RFP circulated.(9) Establish an internship program to involve low income and minority youth in the fields of public planning, environmental, and economic development.- Youth Task Force function is being discussed by the Board. The Task Force will be established once a clearer direction has been determined.
– Youth Task Force associated with the pilot will lead this aspect of the pilot. Youth Task Force does not exist at this time.
– Internship Program discussions just beginning. Several meetings have been held.
Based on your experience with brownfields cleanup and redevelopment, what would you recommend as “best practices” to other pilots?
Based on your experience with brownfields cleanup and redevelopment, what would you have done differently?
If you have any ideas, please let us know.