Friday, February 10, 2012

Turning Brownfields to Greenfields, Concord's Way

By: Duane Craig

Concord, N.C., wanted to revitalize its downtown area, but its industrial legacy of textile mills stood in the way. Sure, the industry had supported the community for nearly a century, but it left land of questionable value behind right at the city's center, according to this report by WFAE.

Brownfields, such as the one described as "a polluted hole in the ground" by the city's mayor, scared off investors and bankers. The sites were suspected of harboring a wide range of chemicals and metals. With 175 such sites within 10 miles of Concord's downtown area, something had to be done.

So, Concord did what any American city might do, it went to the federal government seeking help. That help came in the form of grants. The city has received nearly a half million dollars to date that it has used to assess and cleanup contaminated sites.

Besides that, it has just received nearly $2 million to be used for developing one site into an athletics complex. The city's public works department used to occupy the site, and cleanup cost about $100,000. The city donated the land to the sports complex developer and avoided providing financial assistance or tax incentives to entice the company to develop the land.

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