United States Conference of Mayors
For Immediate Release
June 12, 2010
BROWNFIELDS REPORT SHOWS UNTAPPED POTENTIAL
FOR REDEVELOPMENT IN THE NATION’S CITIES
The U.S. Conference of Mayors Surveys More Than 150 U.S. Cities
Oklahoma City, OK – The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) today released
a national report on the status of Brownfield sites in 150 American
cities. Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized properties where
expansion or redevelopment is complicated by either real or perceived
environmental contamination. As a result, Brownfields present a major
challenge for both small and large cities – primarily due to the lack of
funding necessary to redevelop and/or recycle these lands.
This report is the eighth in a series of reports that documents the
impediments to brownfields redevelopment faced by local communities
throughout the United States, as well as identifies the opportunities
lost when properties remain idle and abandoned. It also quantifies some
of the benefits from brownfields redevelopment efforts across the
country, with cities specifically citing their positive results from
land recycling and the return of brownfields to productive uses.
“The redevelopment of Brownfields is a key component to a sustainable
community. Cities across the nation have learned to do more with less,
but these difficult economic times have made new developments on
brownfields even more challenging. Congress and EPA’s Brownfields
Program has provided tools, but Mayors need additional assistance with
the redevelopment of these properties that will create new jobs and
preserve city green space.” said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, Chair of
the Conference’s Environmental Committee.
This year’s results indicate that 136 cities estimated that they
collectively had more than 22,537 Brownfields sites, with the average
size of a brownfield site being approximately 8.6 acres. Cities also
estimated that Brownfield properties comprised of 60,417 acres of land,
representing potential new jobs and land tax revenue. More then 120
cities estimated that 3,035 sites have been “mothballed,” which is
defined as sites where the current owner has no intention of
redeveloping or selling due to environmental concerns. At mothballed
sites, owners would prefer to have the land remain idle and unused
rather than turn these sites over for development.
Elizabeth (NJ) Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, Co-Chair of the Conference’s
Brownfields Task Force, commented on the benefits of brownfields
development. “Cities who were experiencing a redevelopment renaissance
and residential boom are now facing economic decline and an increase in
foreclosed properties. There is still a renewed interest in developing
city centers where residents can move closer to their jobs and reduce
commuting costs. Brownfield properties are still a value in
redevelopment, with an increase in green technology and the reduction of
energy costs, cities are finding it easier to redevelop and remediate
properties then start from scratch. I believe the program will benefit
cities with jobs on land that is already close to the cities core. This
is the only way to truly grow in a sustainable manner. To use previously
used land and put it back into positive use.”
Other highlights of the survey findings include:
* Over 46 percent of the survey respondents stated that if Brownfields
were redeveloped, they could realize nearly $688 million to $1.66
billion annually in additional tax revenues.
* 106 cities responded that over 230,223 new jobs could be created on
brownfields sites if their brownfield sites were redeveloped, an
increase of 39,000 from last year’s report.
* There were 59 cities that reported 75,000 new jobs have already been
created from redeveloped Brownfields. These jobs include 19,761
pre-development and 55,085 jobs post development.
More than one-half of the cities surveyed reported offering incentives
to encourage brownfields redevelopment through tax credits, low interest
loans, and infrastructure upgrades. Additionally, the Conference’s
survey found that many states are working with cities on Brownfield
issues, but few city-state partnerships deal with the issue of sprawl
that could result from broad redevelopment.
West Palm Beach (FL) Mayor Lois J. Frankel, Co-Chair of the United
States Conference of Mayors Brownfields Task Force, explained how
brownfields have been a very important part of the city’s growth.
“Brownfields provide a wonderful tool for urban and city center
redevelopment. In today’s economy the search for additional resources is
imperative and through Brownfield redevelopment additional jobs and a
growth in the tax base are two benefits cities can strive for.
Communities are reborn and the environment is restored, in many cases,
preserving precious green and open space.” She concluded.
The entire brownfields report will be posted on the Conference’s website
For the original release, go to