Hull received some good news this week when the state legislature awarded the National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) a $1M grant to help redevelop the Wright Factory. A special purpose entity, Home Avenue Redevelopment, LLC, owned by Hull principals, owns the 54 acre former Delphi site that was originally built by the Wright Brothers as the world’s first purpose-built airplane factory. Successors to the Wrights later expanded the manufacturing complex for auto-parts production.
Demolition and remediation is complete on the property and Ohio EPA is reviewing the Ohio VAP No Further Action letter. Home Avenue Redevelopment is partnering with NAHA and the City of Dayton to convert part of the former Wright Factory complex into a part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, with the remainder of the property slated for mixed-use development. Another major partner is the Ohio Development Services Agency, which awarded the City a $3M Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant in 2012.
Additional information can be found on the project by using the links below.
Earlier this summer, the Ohio Legislature and Governor John Kasich approved House Bill 64, the state budget bill, which includes a new $20 million fund dedicated to cleaning up former and abandoned gas station sites around Ohio. The fund is built into the annual operating budget for the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA), which will oversee the new Abandoned Gas Station Cleanup Grant Program.
The program is targeted at helping communities, developers, and eligible property owners address “Class C release” sites, with more than 400 Class C properties currently listed throughout Ohio. ODSA is currently developing the grant application, which is expected to be released later this fall.
These new grant funds can be used at Class C sites to:
To be eligible for the program, the property must be a Class C site (meaning the state has certified that the responsible party is incapable of completing assessment and cleanup of the site), and the applicant for funds cannot have caused or be a contributing party to the contamination at the property. Eligible applicants include municipalities and other political subdivisions, as well as organizations that enter into redevelopment agreements with a political subdivision. Once available, completed applications will be submitted directly to ODSA and reviewed by the agency upon receipt.
Now is the time to take stock of eligible Class C sites in your community. Let HULL help you plan your next redevelopment project!
Brownfields can be redeveloped into community assets in Appalachia. Insisting this was even possible to industry insiders just a decade ago would have likely invoked raised eyebrows – at a minimum – followed by hefty doses of skepticism. Without hesitation, experts well-versed in economic development and real estate could rattle off in quick order a laundry list of the challenges to redeveloping brownfields in Appalachia: legally-complicated and environmentally-decrepit sites left wasting away for too long; no available funding resources or deep pockets interested in paying for cleanup; a skilled workforce that moved away long ago in search of opportunities elsewhere; a lack of dedicated local or regional investment to support such a huge undertaking; crumbling infrastructure in desperate need of replacement; and the poverty – the unimaginable rates of community poverty. And a list of possible solutions to addressing brownfields in Appalachia? Even more difficult to come by.
Although the change in attitude has been many years coming, a new focus on brownfields is now slowly beginning to emerge across Appalachian communities. Local leaders and economic development officials are banding together with residents and business owners to begin developing regional best practices and “smart growth” approaches to redeveloping brownfields, including applying for funding assistance from federal agencies like U.S. EPA, EDA, and HUD. Communities are establishing local advisory committees focused on identifying brownfields and infrastructure challenges, and coming up with ways to address those issues one checklist item at a time. Appalachian communities are no longer looking at their brownfields as tarnished local liabilities, but rather are finding new ways to market these properties to national site selectors as future redevelopment assets. Helping to spur some of this new activity: the growth of the oil and gas industry in states like Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The shale boom is putting a new spotlight on long-overlooked communities in Appalachia and their available properties, and the investment is beginning to pay off in the form of new jobs, infrastructure improvements, and long-range community planning.
And others in the redevelopment world are taking notice, too. In fact, the Brownfields 2015 Conference, scheduled for September 2-4 in Chicago, will feature a planning session aimed specifically at Appalachian communities. “Tackling Brownfields in Appalachia: A Planning Roundtable” is set for September 3, 2015, at 12:45 p.m. in the Stevens Salon A-4 at the Hilton Chicago. This roundtable discussion will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing Appalachian communities when it comes to redeveloping brownfield properties, including community planning, infrastructure, re-use of long-idled facilities, workforce development, and social issues. Designed as an informational planning forum, the session will assist Appalachian and other small communities in defining the issues surrounding brownfield redevelopment in economically-challenged areas of the country, while sharing tips, techniques, and case studies that will inspire creative ideas and collective sharing among the participants. The session also includes ideas for sustainable approaches to planning, assessment, and redevelopment that can be the spark to revitalizing Appalachian communities and help support economic market planning for new job growth. Featured experts in the session include Huntington, WV Mayor Steve Williams and Southern Ohio Port Authority Executive Director Jason Kester.
For more information about the Brownfields 2015 Conference, visit: http://www.brownfieldsconference.org. Information about the “Tackling Brownfields in Appalachia” planning session at the conference can be found at: http://www.brownfieldsconference.org/en/Session/2168?returnurl=%2fen%2feducation%2feducational_sessions.
Have 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: