Abandoned and underutilized properties present a significant challenge to urban revitalization; the problem of urban brownfields is worsened by a lack of information and by uncertainty regarding how to deal with environmental contamination. St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) has established the St. Louis Brownfields Program to battle this problem. Our dedicated staff assembles a variety of resources to help us better understand the challenges and potential solutions presented by Brownfields.
Above: The Great Lakes Carbon smokestack was imploded on March 1, 2011, at the Carondelet Coke site in South St. Louis City. The site is located at the confluence of the Mississippi River and the River Des Peres.
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The Problem of Brownfields
- Unacceptable threats to human health and the environment
- Reduction of employment opportunities, property values and tax revenue
- Neighborhood crime such as theft, dumping or other illegal activities
- Unsightly appearance
- Contribute to suburban sprawl and destruction of Greenfields
The Importance of Brownfield Redevelopment
- Improves public health and the environment
- Restores urban property to productive use, thus increasing property values
- Increases job opportunities and local tax revenues
- Eliminates blight, thus improving community image and long-term sustainability
- Utilizes existing public infrastructure, discouraging sprawl
How St. Louis Addresses the Brownfields Challenge
Our City is currently saddled with about 10,000 parcels that have come to public ownership involuntarily through tax foreclosure. Many of these parcels are Brownfields. SLDC's Major Projects Team routinely uses a variety of grants and in-kind services to identify, test, and clean up Brownfields throughout the City. While we typically focus on publicly-owned sites, privately-owned projects with significant potential to create jobs and increase tax base can also receive technical assistance. Once the true nature and extent of contamination is known, we have found that Brownfield properties often have much lower levels of contamination than expected, and safe and cost-effective remediation can be accomplished through traditional cleanup approaches and/or risk-based corrective action.
The team at SLDC frequently applies for, secures, and manages assessment and cleanup grants from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The selection process is highly competitive, and each year there are more applicants vying for a limited pool of funding. Low-interest cleanup loans and sub-grants are available for eligible sites through the St. Louis Brownfields Cleanup Fund.
Additional Available Resources
SLDC routinely partners with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Tanks Section and Brownfields/Voluntary Cleanup Program to ensure cleanup is completed correctly and to pool our collective resources in order to have a greater impact. We also work to secure Brownfield Remediation Tax Credits from the Missouri Department of Economic Development when significant cleanup challenges emerge. When it comes to the environmental issues presented by Brownfields, we stand ready to assemble whatever tools are necessary to overcome the challenge and help ensure success for development prospects. For more information contact the Major Projects Department at 314-657-3700.