Kansas Brownfields Program
Maggie Weiser, State Brownfields Coordinator
Phone: (785) 296-5519 Fax: (785)-296-7030 or (785)-296-1686
1000 SW Jackson, Suite 410
Topeka, KS 66612-1367
What are "Brownfields"?
Brownfields are real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Often the potential liability associated with contamination complicates business development, property transactions, or expansion on these properties.
Cleaning up and redeveloping brownfields properties is necessary to preserve neighborhoods, reduce urban sprawl, and stop the continued development of new industrial and commercial facilities on farmland. By investigating and cleaning up a brownfields property and taking care of the site's potential health or environmental risks, communities can use local land again - producing jobs, increasing the tax base, or adding other benefits such as creating a park or residential area.
Almost every city and county, in both rural and urban areas, has brownfields properties. KDHE currently has programs to assist communities with brownfields property redevelopment.
The 2014 Oklahoma Brownfields Conference is scheduled for November 5-6, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The focus for this year's conference is on regional brownfields redevelopment concerns for rural states, such as Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Louisiana, and will include speakers from each state as well as National Brownfields representatives from US EPA Headquarters. Additionally the conference provides an opportunity for Kansas participants to earn credits that may be applied towards continuing education required for professional engineers, geologists, surveyors, architects, business entities, and certified administrators. Registration is now open, so click here to sign up today!
Mo-Kan Regional Council Selected to Receive Two EPA Brownfields Grants
John Mitchell, Division of Environment Director and Maggie Weiser, Brownfields Coordinator traveled to St. Joseph, MO to combine with Karl Brooks, U.S. EPA Region 7 Administrator in congratulating the Mo-Kan Regional Council (Mo-Kan) for being selected to receive not one, but two U.S. EPA Brownfields Grants. EPA announced last month that Mo-Kan has been selected to receive a pair of related grants to provide local job training and assistance with cleanup and redevelopment.
- Through EPA's Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program, Mo-Kan will receive $200,000 to recruit, train and place predominantly low-income and minority, unemployed and underemployed residents from communities impacted by hazardous wastes. Mo-Kan plans to train 40 students and place at least 30 of them in sustainable employment with environmental jobs, including various aspects of hazardous and solid waste management.
- Through EPA's Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup (ARC) program, Mo-Kan will receive $1 million to capitalize a revolving loan fund from which it can provide loans and sub grants to support cleanup activities, community engagement and cleanup planning to eligible entities in local communities.
|From left to right: Tom Bliss, Mo-Kan Regional Council; Karl Brooks, EPA Region 7 Administrator; John Mitchell, and a county commissioner from Buchanan County in MO. All three spoke at the event.||John Mitchell, KDHE Director of Environment, congratulates Mo-Kan on receiving EPA grant funding.|
As a designated regional planning commission and economic development district recognized by the states of Kansas and Missouri and the federal government, the not-for-profit Mo-Kan is highly qualified to administer the EPA grants. Communities and residents of Atchison, Brown, Doniphan, Jackson, Jefferson and Nemaha counties in Kansas and Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Clinton, DeKalb, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway and Worth counties in Missouri will be eligible for help from the grants.
"Establishing a funding source to address contaminated properties will result in the revitalization of properties on both sides of the state line which in turn often leads to job creation, an increase in the local tax base, and an overall sense of pride for the local community. In addition, Mo-KAN's EWDJT program provides the opportunity for participants to actively contribute in making their own community a great place to live and work and strengthens the local workforce by preparing local citizens for environmental jobs that may otherwise be contracted from outside the affected community," John Mitchell, KDHE Division of Environment Director said. "The KDHE shares in Mo-Kan's overarching goals for these brownfields grants and will continue to support the redevelopment efforts in this region." To date, the Kansas Brownfields Program has assessed approximately 30 properties located in the six Kansas counties served by Mo-Kan and continues to offer free environmental site assessments on eligible properties.
Similar sentiments were expressed by U.S. EPA Region 7 Administrator, Karl Brooks, "Through the good work of Mo-Kan, its staff and its partner agencies, these funds will have direct, profound and positive impact on communities in and around the Midland Empire. Brownfields properties will be cleaned up and returned to productive use, and local residents will get job training and placement assistance in meaningful, sustainable environmental career positions."
KDHE commends Mo-Kan's efforts in securing much needed resources for northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri and looks forward to our continued partnership of redeveloping brownfields properties.
Brownfields Program Awarded Grant Funds
BER's Brownfields Program has been selected to receive $600,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup (ARC) Grants program. BER collaborated with the City of Chanute, the Fort Scott Bourbon County Riverfront Authority, and the City of Ottawa to submit a Brownfields Coalition Assessment Grant application in November 2012. The ARC grant process is part of an annual national competition, and KDHE, along with its coalition partners, is one of the 240 selected recipients in 45 states to receive ARC grants for 2013. This grant will allow KDHE to reach out to more neighborhoods that might not otherwise have access to resources to address redevelopment of blighted areas in their communities.
A majority of the ARC grant funds will be used for the assessment and cleanup planning of approximately 60 brownfields properties located within the coalition target communities of Chanute, Fort Scott and Ottawa. Upon completion of the brownfields process, future use of these properties may include, but are not limited to, manufacturing, community centers, greenspaces and recreational areas.
While most of the assessment funds will be used in coalition areas in Chanute, Fort Scott and Ottawa, remaining funds will be applied across Kansas.
Good News for Kansas Brownfields
- "City moving forward with Memorial Hall, Riverfront Park projects." September 19, 2013, The Fort Scott Tribune.
Recent Kansas Brownfields Program Accomplishments
The Kansas Brownfields Program has recently been instrumental in the redevelopment of two brownfields properties. The 0 West Third Street site in Cherryvale is a successfully remediated property that in the past had lead-contaminated smelter waste used as fill material. The Leavenworth Hotel BTA brownfields site cleared the way to redevelop 16 properties in Leavenworth into a new Mariott Brand Hotel and Convention Center.
Brownfields Newsletter and Listserv
- Brownfields Redevelopment Success in Kansas (.pdf, 3 MB) presents case studies of 72 Brownfields sites all over the state of Kansas, and their successful redevelopment into productive properties.
- Brownfields Redevelopment Toolbox: Enabling Brownfields Cleanup and Redevelopment in Kansas Communities (.pdf) is a step-by-step guide to planning and implementing a Brownfields program.
- Brownfields Program Flyer (.pdf) - KDHE Program Information
- Brownfields Targeted Assessment Application Package (.pdf)
- "Writing Request for Proposals: a Primer for Brownfields Pilots" (.pdf) Written by Great Plains/Rocky Mountain Research Center
- EPA Brownfields Assessment Grants: Interested in Applying for Funding? (.pdf)