A brownfield is any property with real or perceived contamination that is holding up the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of the site. These sites are typically passed up by developers as too costly, high risk and low returns on investments. The most common brownfield sites in Baton Rouge include:
Abandoned motor vehicle repair shops, tire shops and gas stations
Former dry cleaning sites
Vacant historic buildings and warehouses
Small petro-chemical businesses
Vacant sites in older commercial areas
BENEFITS OF CLEANING UP BROWNFIELD SITES
Removal of blight
Improves and protects the environment
Protects human health and reduces environmental risk
Improves the quality of life
Brings real estate back into productive use
Increases the tax base
Uses the existing infrastructure and takes development pressure off of undeveloped land
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative was created to empower states, federally recognized Indian tribes, local governments, communities, and other stakeholders involved in economic redevelopment to work together to assess and safely cleanup brownfield sites to put them back into reuse.
As part of this initiative, in 1999, EPA awarded Baton Rouge funds to establish a Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot. The Brownfield pilot program was the foundation of a dynamic land revitalization program that the City of Baton Rouge-Parish of East Baton Rouge Planning Commission has managed for over 20 years resulting in numerous public-private partnerships that place idle properties back into commerce.
A site may be eligible if it is located within East Baton Rouge Parish, if the property is abandoned or underutilized, and has real or perceived contamination. Perception of even a minor environmental issue such as asbestos or lead paint is generally sufficient. We are able to partner with an wide range of public, private, and non-profit entities to provide the services offered by the program.
To participate in the Baton Rouge Brownfield Program, you should provide us with information about the property’s current owner, known past uses, the prospective purchaser of the property, any suspected environmental issues, and the redevelopment intent of the project.
When funding is available, our program offers the following:
ENVIRONMENTAL SITE ASSESSMENTS
A Phase I environmental site assessment is a report conducted prior to a real estate transaction that identifies potential or existing environmental contamination, both in structures and the underlying soil or groundwater.
A Phase II environmental site assessment is a report that uses carefully considered environmental sampling to confirm or deny the presence or extent of contamination on a property, typically in soil, groundwater, or building materials.
If a property is contaminated, a clean-up plan can be prepared. This report will outline options for remediating a contaminated property.
SOUTH LOUISIANA BROWNFIELDS COALITION REVOLVING LOAN FUND
The City of Baton Rouge is a partner in a regional Revolving Loan Fund that can act as a source of funding for site remediation. The RLF can provide low-interest loans to private developers, or grants to non-profit and public entities that can serve as gap financing to help a project overcome environmental issues.
Working with non-profit and redevelopment agencies, we develop detailed neighborhood or corridor scale reports that will identify properties where environmental concerns may complicate reuse or redevelopment.
Using our access to industry leaders in brownfields redevelopment and environmental science, we provide guidance and suggestions at any stage of a brownfield project.
A variety of non-profit organizations such as community development corporations, housing non-profits, and neighborhood redevelopment organizations have worked in collaboration with us to redevelop properties and identify brownfield sites.