June 11, 2015
CALLAWAY, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Northwest District, in partnership with the Northwest Florida and Apalachee Regional Planning Councils, educated more than 70 attendees today about the environmental and economic benefits of brownfields redevelopment. The Annual Northwest Florida Brownfields Forum is designed to expand knowledge of Florida’s Brownfields Program, which facilitates redevelopment and job creation by empowering communities, local governments and other stakeholders to work together to assess, clean up and re-use sites previously impacted by pollutants.
This year’s agenda included breakout panel discussion sessions featuring local government and technical and private-sector, subject-matter experts answering questions and discussing personal experiences with brownfields redevelopment. The event also included a grant writing workshop that offered tips for applying for a grant for a brownfields redevelopment project.
“The Brownfields Program provides incentives to revitalize communities and foster economic development,” said Shawn Hamilton, director of DEP’s Northwest District. “Utilizing these incentives, our local communities can redevelop properties to meet local needs. We have already seen many successful brownfields redevelopment projects in Northwest Florida and I hope this annual forum helps create even more success.”
The program focuses on the cleanup of contaminated sites and economic redevelopment of those sites. To make the program’s incentives available to a community, a local government must designate a brownfields area by resolution.
Utilizing economic and regulatory incentives, the program encourages the use of private revenue to restore and redevelop sites, create new jobs and boost the local economy. Along Main Street on the Pensacola Bay waterfront is an area that was historically filled in for cargo docks. After revitalization, the property is now occupied by Baskerville-Donovan, Inc. and Nick’s Boathouse Restaurant. The combined value of the property is now over $3.2 million compared to the predevelopment value of $463,000.
In Tallahassee, Gaines Street Corridor is a historically industrial area located near the heart of downtown. The property was known to be contaminated due to these prior industrial uses. After cleanup and redevelopment, the Marriott Residence Inn was constructed. The Marriott now employs 32 full-time and nine part-time staff. The property is valued at more than $10 million, after a predevelopment value of $588,000.
To learn more about the Brownfields Redevelopment Program, click here