Benefits of Cleanup & Redevelopment
Podcast: Minnesota Brownfields’ Executive Director Martha Faust is Featured on Metropolitan Council’s PlanIt Series – September 8, 2017
Listen to an informative podcast on brownfield redevelopment and the issues that are currently facing Minnesota. Along with discussing trends and practices, Martha Faust dives into the the thought process behind redevelopment. Click here to listen to the podcast.
The PlanIt podcast series focuses on telling the stories of the planning process from experts in a variety of fields. Visit the Metropolitan Council’s website here to sign up for the series and listen to all the podcasts.
Brownfield development fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. Read our 2017 report outlining immediate and long-term economic, environmental and community benefits of cleaning up and revitalizing brownfields in Minnesota, the cost of doing nothing, and future opportunities.
Between 1995-2016, over 8,000 unique brownfield sites enrolled in MPCA cleanup programs. As of July 2017, 72,280 acres have been enrolled through the Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup Program and the Petroleum Brownfields Program.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded $211.5 million between 1995-2016 to 621 grantees with the following results:
- $8.3 billion in Private Investment Leveraged – $44 private investment for every $1 granted
- 71,163 jobs created or retained
- $145.2 million increase to local tax base
Minnesota Brownfields estimates that another 10,000 known contaminated or potentially contaminated sites exist in Minnesota today.
Brownﬁeld redevelopment eﬀorts have been a success in Minnesota, but there is more work to do. Coming out of the current recession, brownﬁeld redevelopment can be a key engine for economic growth and job creation. Minnesota should rejuvenate funding levels to DEED, the Metropolitan Council, and all other dedicated brownﬁeld-focused sources to allow the continuance of the robust production we are known for nationally – production that has provided marketable land and buildings for substantial private sector business and jobs growth.
Between 1995-2016, over 8,000 unique brownfield sites enrolled in MPCA cleanup programs. As of July 2017, 72,280 acres have been enrolled through the Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup Program and the Petroleum Brownfields Program. Despite Minnesota’s brownfield cleanup and redevelopment successes, the MPCA estimates that 5,000- 10,000 additional brownfields or potential brownfield sites exist in Minnesota. Developing these brownfields can contribute to the following environmental benefits:
- Every 1 redeveloped brownﬁeld acre conserves 4.5 greenﬁeld acres.
- Using a conservative 3:1 ratio, Minnesota has the potential to save 300,000 greenﬁeld acres from development- equivalent to preserving open space nearly the size of Hennepin County.
Reduction in Emissions and Improvements in Air Quality
- The location eﬃciency of brownﬁeld sites support an estimated 32% to 57% reduction in vehicle miles traveled.
- Twin Cities’ brownﬁeld redevelopments average 32% lower carbon dioxide and air pollutant emissions per resident from personal vehicle use relative to conventional development.
Improvements in Water Quality
- Total runoﬀ in the region would be 59% to 69% lower if development occurred on brownﬁeld sites rather than vacant grassland areas, and 48% to 56% lower than alternative sites on agricultural land.
- Brownﬁeld redevelopment produces a substantial reduction for all pollutants. Loads of conventional pollutants, such as nitrogen, phosphorous, suspended solids, and biological oxygen demand would be 20% to 84% lower when compared to other greenﬁeld sites. Similarly, metals ranged from 49% to 83% reduction.
Between 1995-2017, over 8,000 unique brownfield sites enrolled in MPCA cleanup programs. As of July 2017, 72,280 acres have been enrolled through the Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup Program and the Petroleum Brownfields Program. Cleaning up and redeveloping brownfields revitalizes neighborhoods and communities, producing a variety of benefits:
Public Health Benefits
- Human exposure to contamination is reduced or eliminated.
- Brownfield reuse is a proven smart growth approach that has been linked with a reduction in vehicle miles traveled, which in turn improves air quality and associated health risks such as asthma.
- Reusing a brownfield in an area with existing development can enhance neighborhood walkability. Pedestrian-friendly developments provide places for residents to interact, enjoy the outdoors and exercise.
- Reusing brownfield property also eases development pressure on greenfields, which are critical for maintaining healthy watersheds.
- Adaptive re-use of brownfield sites can transform contaminated industrial sites from blighted wastelands into thriving new residential and commercial developments.
- New development can bring environmental justice by leveraging new investment and jobs in distressed communities.
- Brownfield redevelopment has been linked with increased rates of home ownership, which has, in turn, been linked to an increase in educational achievement, civic participation and well-being.
- Properties within a ¾ mile radius of a redeveloped brownfield site realize between a 5-15% increase in value.
- The EPA estimates that properties located within a one-mile radius of a redeveloped site can expect an overall value increase of .5 to $1.5 million dollars and a reduction in crime.