Sustainable Reuse of Brownfields: The Vision
Developed in 2003, the goal of Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council’s (TCRPC) Brownfields Program is to promote the reuse and redevelopment of abandoned or underutilized brownfield sites in the Region. TCRPC offers both technical assistance for environmental site assessments, clean up planning and community engagement, as well as financial assistance in the form of sub-grants and low-interest loans.
TCRPC’s vision for the sustainable reuse of Brownfields is a continuation and natural outgrowth of its efforts to promote the creation of livable cities, towns, and villages within the Treasure Coast Region. TCRPC’s Brownfields Program is intended to facilitate the redevelopment and revitalization of brownfield areas within older communities, restore abandoned and underutilized sites to productive community-supported uses, and promote overall economic and environmental enhancement in the Region’s communities.
Southeast Florida Brownfields Redevelopment Coalition
The Southeast Florida Brownfields Redevelopment Coalition (SFBRC) partners include Treasure Coast and the South Florida Regional Council. This seven-county region comprised of Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties includes two metropolitan statistical areas designated by the Census Bureau, three international airports, and four major deep-water seaports, as well as three Seminole and three Miccousukee Indian reservations.
The partners of the SFBRC have extensive experience involving targeted communities and stakeholders, such as neighborhood organizations, citizens groups, property owners, lenders, business organizations, and developers in the planning and implementation of large regional projects. One of the Coalition’s main goals is to include the community in all stages of redevelopment efforts. This includes engaging the community in project planning, site selection for assessments, cleanup decisions, and reuse planning. Through effective promotion of projects, the SFBRC is dedicated to working with the public in a meaningful way to obtain valuable input and ensure everyone is engaged and updated on projects occurring in their community.
In 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant to the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council and its partners, the South Florida Regional Council and Miami Waterkeeper. The assessment grant funds were used to inventory, characterize, and assess potential Brownfields sites. The grant provided $600,000 in funding to be split across Southeast Florida. A total of $300,000 was allocated for sites with hazardous substance impacts and $300,000 for sites with petroleum impacts. The grant budget period is October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2022. The Coalition Assessment Grant will allow the Coalition partners the opportunity to perform assessment activities, cleanup planning, and redevelopment activities on a regional basis.
Any local government (city, village, town, county, redevelopment authority, community development agency, downtown development authority) is eligible to complete an application for brownfield site assessment assistance. The Program is available to municipalities, prospective purchasers, and parties that would not be found liable for any existing contamination of the property.
To qualify for Brownfields Site Assessment Assistance, the identified site should be abandoned, idle, or under used industrial or commercial property, and have the following:
- real or perceived petroleum and/or hazardous substances contamination
- a high degree of redevelopment or reuse potential
- no responsible party able to conduct the environmental investigation
- the support of the local government and the community
- be tied to a redevelopment plan
Eligible Site Assessment Activities
Under cooperative agreements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, TCRPC contracts with consultants to perform an environmental site investigation for a qualifying brownfield property at no cost to local governments, eligible property owners, or prospective purchasers. The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is a critical first step to have abandoned or underutilized properties put back into productive reuse. Qualified applicants can receive assistance for the following activities:
- Environmental Assessments on eligible sites (Phase I or Phase II)
- Cleanup Planning (Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives)
- Community Engagement
Information discovered during a site investigation will be considered a public record and will be made available for review at TCRPC offices. For more information, please call Stephanie Heidt at TCRPC at (772) 221-4060.
TCRPC works closely with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and EPA throughout all phases of its Brownfields program. Specifically, FDEP will be provided with the plans and reports for the Phase II environmental site assessments conducted for their review and comment. The SFBRC also works with FDEP on public outreach and educational activities.
Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund
Technical Assistance: Brownfield Cleanup Program
The Treasure Coast Brownfield Cleanup Program implemented through an EPA-funded revolving loan fund is designed to serve as a catalyst for the cleanup of petroleum-contaminated brownfield sites in the Treasure Coast Region’s redevelopment areas in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties. The Cleanup Program accomplishes this by providing below-market rate loans and sub-grants to help public and private sector developers revitalize these properties and protect the environment and public health.
Revolving Loan Fund
This fund provides financing for environmental cleanup activities. Cleanup loans have flexible terms, offer below-market interest rates, and will subordinate to other lenders. The Revolving Loan Fund is capitalized by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program and is managed by the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.
- Reduced interest rates
- Flexible repayment terms and loan amortization
- Flexibility in acceptable forms of collateral
- Will subordinate to other financing
- Simple application
- Low transaction costs
Ability to leverage other sources of funding
Who Can Borrow Funds?
- Private property owners
- Public and quasi-public property owners
- Expanding/relocating businesses
- Non-profit organizations
- Sites contaminated by petroleum or petroleum products and/or hazardous materials
- Sites at which Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments have been completed
Public Marina and Coastaline Resilience Brownfields Initiative
The South Florida Regional Planning Council, Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, and Miami Waterkeeper are working together as a Coalition to improve coastal resiliency and reduce environmental impacts at public marinas and coastline access points. The Coalition seeks to assess potential environmental impacts and resiliency challenges, while helping communities to move priority sites forward with cleanup and resiliency planning, design, and implementation.
For more information, contact:
Stephanie Heidt, AICP
Economic Development and Intergovernmental Programs Director
Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council
421 SW Camden Avenue
Stuart, Florida 34994