Governor Jack Markell is proposing a significant investment in brownfield re-development and environmental cleanup projects creating shovel-ready opportunities for development, while making our communities safer and healthier. The Governor wants to allocate $4 million from recent increases in projected state revenues to Delaware’s Hazardous Site Cleanup Act (HSCA) fund for brownfield and other environmental cleanup projects, and restore $1 million a year for the next two years to HSCA that had been diverted to the General Fund.
The Governor also announced the launch of a new interactive website, live today, which lists brownfield sites that have been cleaned up, environmentally certified and are ready for redevelopment.
“Re-development makes environmental and economic sense,” said Governor Jack Markell. “Investing in brownfield and environmental cleanup projects will transform abandoned, blighted and contaminated properties into safer, healthier revitalized communities. Wilmington’s riverfront area is a testament to the potential for brownfield redevelopment to play a critical role in Delaware’s economic prosperity. Environmental stewardship and revitalization can go hand-in-hand. ”
The Governor made the announcement before a coalition of labor and business leaders today gathered at the Chase Center on the Wilmington Riverfront, once the largest concentration of brownfield and environmental cleanup sites in the state. More than 200 members of Delawareans for Environmental and Economic Development (DEED) joined the Governor and Delaware’s Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Collin O’Mara.
Website Database Supports Economic Development
The new “Brownfields Marketplace” online database is accessible from both the Department of Economic Development (DEDO) and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) home pages. The Marketplace introduces “new” areas available for economic development, primarily in industrial and urban areas that have existing utilities, roads and other infrastructure. The goal is to make it easier for potential buyers and redevelopers to locate available brownfield properties, which may be the best choice for companies looking to locate or expand. Visit the Delaware Brownfield Marketplace at www.dnrec.delaware.gov or www.dedo.delaware.gov
Funding Supports Environmental Stewardship“These investments will make a significant difference in the state’s ability to clean up brownfields and other environmental projects,” said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara. “Brownfield cleanup and redevelopment provide tremendous benefits for our economy and environment – bringing new jobs and businesses to Delaware and protecting public health by restoring properties that may pose health risks.”
HSCA is the state’s primary method for cleaning up Delaware’s contaminated properties, including the state’s share for federal Superfund sites, other contaminated sites that don’t qualify as Superfund sites, underground storage tank sites and emergency response cleanups. HSCA has funded the remediation of hundreds of sites over the years, including brownfield sites.
The proposed $4 million for HSCA would be allocated for projects that provide the most benefits– those that restore the environment, reduce human health risks and facilitate redevelopment and cleanup of contaminated properties in Delaware.
Cleanup projects may include: Wilmington’s Riverfront; affordable housing; Delaware State University’s proposed research park; the Kalmar Nyckel site; and the Chrysler facility in Newark, which is envisioned as the future location of the University of Delaware’s science and technology campus. Several large brownfield projects are currently underway, including implementing a plan to restore the NVF Yorklyn site with mixed economic development – a museum, State Park preserve, conservation easements and flood mitigation. DNREC certified more than 155 sites as brownfields, successfully remediating 52 of those sites.
A recent study by the University of Delaware found that every dollar spent on a brownfields cleanup returns $17.50 on the state’s investment. A $5M investment would drive an additional $88M of economic activity. The study found that cleanup and redevelopment of 119 brownfield properties stimulated almost 700 jobs and added $394 million to the state’s gross domestic product, while substantially increasing wages and personal income for Delawareans. The total assessed value of the brownfield properties in New Castle County – where 90 percent of the state’s brownfields exist – increased by more than $455 million dollars.
The Governor’s announcement is part of a larger vision for “Building Delaware’s Future Now.”
“We need to expand economic opportunity, invest in education and workforce development, improve our environment and make reasonable reduction in taxes while maintaining fiscal responsibility,” said the Governor.