1998 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@igc.apc.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 1998 09:03:55 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields

I developed the following comments in response to the research report of
the Financing Initiative for Environmental Restoration (FIER), a summary
of which I sent out last week.
I have modified them slightly for this audience, and I believe they are
applicable to other potential brownfields financial instruments as well.

Lenny Siegel

One of the greatest fears of Brownfields Communities is that  the
redevelopment of property will mean the removal of people
(gentrification), not the revitalization of communities.

The FIER financial instrument(s) can help overcome this challenge by
supporting partnerships with members of Brownfields communities. This
fits in with two of the funding gaps, as described on p. 34 of the FIER
research report: 1) There is a need for financial assistance for small
projects. 2) There is a need to support projects with marginal returns.

I think FIER can support "mom and pop" business ventures, which are
often a poor, undereducated community's best opportunities for business
formation. Local residents are often passed over in development projects
because they lack expertise and capital. Particularly in financial
partnerships that also provide technical/business assistance,
Brownfields community entrepreneurs can generate sweat equity.
Hardworking small business owners not only benefit as individuals; the
economic fabric of the community in which they live benefits as well.

Since many Brownfields communities already have mixed use, projects in
those communities can include the traditional, but often forgotten
house/store combinations, in which small business owners live behind or
above their shops.

I don't think such small projects will represent a large fraction of the
Brownfields universe, but they would provide a way to address a key
community concern within the gaps defined by FIER.

A significant share of such small businesses are unsuccessful, so
realistic goals should be established. But there are numerous other
agencies, such as the Small Business Administration, that are in a
position to provide aid and strengthen their chance of success.


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/968-1126

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