Brownfields is a term used to describe real estate that is contaminated or perceived to be contaminated by hazardous substances or petroleum in soil or groundwater. The complexity and cost of cleanup creates an obstacle to redevelopment or reuse of the property. Brownfields examples include closed landfills, abandoned gas stations, old manufacturing facilities, and former dry cleaning facilities. The cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields brings many economic development benefits to a community. Since 1998, more than $300 million in private investment has restored approximately 310 acres of previously contaminated land and created or maintained over 3,300 jobs. In addition, more than 30 sites have been redevelopment for public use.
The goal of the program is to reduce obstacles and provide assistance for redevelopment of brownfields in the city. The program is managed by the Office of Environmental Programs and has two components: 1) assistance to city departments for redevelopment of contaminated sites for public use, and 2) assistance to the private sector for redevelopment of sites that benefit the community by reducing environmental exposures, job creation, services, and revitalizing neighborhoods.