What is a brownfield?
According to the EPA, a brownfield is a property where the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants. Many brownfield sites require remediation with costs that far exceed the value of the property, causing sites sit vacant and undeveloped for years. The transformation of Brownfield sites is vital to the ongoing success of the region’s communities.
Brownfields in the Region
The remnants of large-scale industrial production that once drove the region’s economy are the most visible examples of brownfield sites in the Naugatuck Valley, however, brownfields are not exclusive to these historical manufacturing buildings and sites. Sites can range in scale from vacant auto-repair facilities and dry cleaners to underutilized historic commercial properties and former agricultural lands.
Why Invest in Brownfields?
According to the EPA, $17.45 was leveraged for each brownfields dollar and 9 jobs leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements. Over the past decade, NVCOG has managed more than $10 million in brownfields funding. Through redevelopment projects, this funding has leveraged more than $96 million in additional federal, state, municipal and private investment.
Cleaning up and reusing brownfields properties provide many community benefits. Redeveloping these sites can increase the local tax base, create jobs and spur economic development in surrounding areas. It can focus development on areas where utilities and access are readily available, and preserve ecologically sensitive, forested, and open-space areas, also known as “greenfields”.
Redeveloping brownfields can help protect and improve the health and quality of life of residents by removing blight and environmentally contaminated soils. While Naugatuck Valley’s industrial legacy has left many of our cities and towns with challenging environmental problems, these sites also present an incredible opportunity for our communities to reclaim and reimagine these spaces to provide significant benefit to residents.
NVCOG’s Brownfield Redevelopment Program works with the support of the Regional Brownfields Partnership, a committee of 24 towns, to help transform these sites from community liabilities into community asset. The RBP provided access to grants and low-interest loans, and technical assistance to navigate the entire environmental process, from site assessments to cleanup.
Our program is committed to helping communities in Connecticut reclaim and revitalize brownfield properties, mitigate potential health risks, and restore economic vitality, especially for communities who are historically impacted by economic disinvestment, health disparities, and environmental contamination.