By Kara Allison, APR  |   June 14th, 2015
brownfield redevelopment and livibility principalsHave you applied for federal brownfields funding lately? Perhaps you’ve noticed an increasing emphasis on incorporating sustainable concepts, equitable development, and other livability-focused activities into these funding proposals. It’s a shift in approach designed to support growing stronger, more sustainable communities nationwide, and if you want to secure federal funding for your future brownfields projects it’s time to start paying attention to the details now.
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities – an interagency partnership formed in 2009 between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – works to coordinate federal housing, transportation, water, and other infrastructure investments to make neighborhoods more prosperous, allow people to live closer to jobs, save households time and money, and reduce pollution. The partnership agencies incorporate six principles of livability into federal funding programs, policies, and future legislative proposals – which we’re now seeing with increased frequency in federal brownfield funding applications.
So just the very nature of even implementing a brownfields project puts a community on the right path to incorporating the “livability principles” identified by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, right? Not quite. But here are a few ways to start thinking about how to encompass every aspect of the Livability Principles in planning your next brownfield redevelopment project:
  • Provide More Transportation Choices – Set your local brownfields task force loose on researching information for an infrastructure assessment study to help make recommendations for improved and additional community transportation alternatives, including ways to increase walkability in target corridors and neighborhoods.
  • Promote Equitable, Affordable Housing – Include recommendations in remedial action plans about whether assessed sites could be used to improve and grow the community’s stock of affordable, energy-efficient housing, particularly for sites assessed within any neighborhood improvement areas.
  • Enhance Economic Competitiveness – Focus on and conduct assessments at key sites, which will increase opportunities for economic competitiveness by identifying brownfields for future cleanup. Market restored properties to new and expanding businesses which will in turn create both construction and permanent jobs in the community. 
  • Support Existing Communities – Use outreach activities and public meetings in the targeted community to leverage information and gather input into the brownfield redevelopment process. Include local organizations, residents, and businesses from the impacted neighborhoods to support your grassroots, early brownfields planning initiatives.
  • Coordinate and Leverage Federal Policies and Investments – Apply for and leverage multiple sources of federal, state, and local grant funding for brownfields. Use logical steps in layering the available sources of public funding (planning, assessment, cleanup, and reinvestment) to help secure and attract private funding to keep growing investments in your local brownfields initiative.
  • Value Communities and Neighborhoods – Begin assessing brownfield sites in the most impacted core of your community. It not only provides the ability to restore a sense of community pride in the targeted corridor, but within the community as a whole. An added bonus: you’ll see a ripple impact on the greater regional area and the opportunity to leverage broader support for your local community brownfield initiative.
Kara Allison, APR, Director of Communications, Government and Community Relations
Kara Allison directs Hull’s corporate communications and public affairs initiatives where she specializes in state and federal environmental policy and legislative issues, community outreach, media strategy, and crisis communications.  As a part of Hull’s funding team, she has assisted in securing more than $185 million in grants for brownfields, energy, and green development projects.  A journalism graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Kara has 20 years of experience in public and media relations.  She is a principal in the firm, an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America and a registered lobbyist in Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Kara builds credibility with legislators, government officials, municipalities, community groups, and reporters by helping them understand the various environmental issues associated with development projects.  She also works with developers and communities in public-private partnerships to help foster creative redevelopment and funding strategies for brownfield and renewable energy sites, and has been directly responsible for developing public relations and community outreach strategies for a number of high-profile, large-scale national redevelopment projects.  She routinely provides public outreach and media counsel and shares her in-depth regulatory, legislative and program knowledge with staff and clients. 
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