2000 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 11:01:51 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: [CPEO-BIF] 231-City Report Shows Effects of Brownfields in America

To download the 108 page report go to:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 24, 2000

231-City Report Shows Effects of Brownfields in America

Miami-Dade, FL — At a press conference today, The U.S. Conference of Mayors
called for a national commitment to ‘recycle’ the thousands of brownfields
in America’s cities. This third annual report on "Recycling America’s Land"
finds brownfields redevelopment could generate 550,000 additional jobs, and
up to $2.4 billion in new tax revenue for cities. The press conference was
held at the Poinciana Industrial Center, a brownfield undergoing
redevelopment in Miami-Dade, and attended by Cedar Rapids (IA) Mayor Lee R.
Clancey and Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas.

The Conference’s third annual brownfields report, documents the
pervasiveness of the brownfields problem throughout the United States.
Entitled Recycling America’s Land: A National Report on Brownfields
Redevelopment, the study quantifies the many lost opportunities to the
nation in failing to recycle these sites back into more productive uses.
(Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized properties where expansion or
redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental

In a statement released with the report, Conference President and Denver
Mayor Webb said, "As Mayors, we want to see every piece of property in our
cities reclaimed and put back into productive use. Brownfield sites are
eyesores that blight neighborhoods and negatively impact the economic
vitality of the nation. By redeveloping these brownfield sites, we are also
able to utilize our existing infrastructure, including our roads and sewer
systems, while easing the pressure to develop open spaces and farmland."

A total of 231 cities provided information on the status of brownfields in
their communities. Among the findings:

210 cities estimated that they had more than 21,000 brownfields sites,
which range in size from a quarter of an acre to a single site that
measures 1,300 acres. 

Of those that could estimate acreage, 202 cities had more than 125,000
acres of land that were abandoned or underutilized. This acreage is nearly
the same as the total land area of the cities of Boston, Minneapolis,
Pittsburgh, and San Francisco combined.

This year's report again shows that brownfields affect cities of all sizes.
Nearly a third of the respondents were cities with populations under
50,000, and more than six out of ten respondents were cities with
populations under 100,000.

Responding cities reported three major obstacles to the redevelopment of
brownfield sites. Lack of funding was cited most often, followed by
liability problems arising from Superfund legislation, and requirements for
expensive environmental assessments.

Upon viewing these findings, Conference Executive Director J. Thomas
Cochran commented, "This report further documents the negative effects of
the Superfund law on the nation's cities. The nation's Mayors want Congress
and the White House to join them in enacting a comprehensive development
program with incentives and other policies to stimulate private sector

Respondents were also asked to identify potential benefits that brownfields
redevelopment could provide to cities:

Three-fourths of respondents estimated that if their brownfields were
redeveloped, their cities would realize $878 million to $2.4 billion
annually in additional tax revenues. 

187 cities estimated that more than 550,000 jobs could be created on former
brownfield sites.

More than 180 cities said they could support additional people moving into
their city without adding appreciably to their existing infrastructure. Of
these, 118 respondents estimated that, collectively, they could support
more than 5.8 million new people in their cities—nearly equivalent to the
population of Chicago and Los Angeles combined.

Regarding the site of the release of the report, Mayor Penelas said, "The
Poinciana Industrial Center is an appropriate spot to unveil this survey
because it is a microcosm of the nation's brownfield challenge. Through
great effort, local residents and business people have redeveloped some of
the land. We removed 10,000 cubic feet of solid waste and concrete rubble
and 3,000 tons of contaminated soil. However, current federal law stands in
the way of further improvements. I am pleased to join my fellow Mayors in
the drive toward making brownfield recycling simpler and more efficient."

An additional benefit of brownfield redevelopment cited by Mayors was the
preservation of farmland and greenspace, as a tangible means of curbing
sprawl. "The latest statistics from the Department of Agriculture confirm
that . . .the impact of sprawl is getting worse," said Mayor Clancey. "On
average more than three million acres of unspoiled land was developed each
year from 1992 to 1997, more than doubling the 1.4 million acres lost per
year from 1982 to 1992. The American Farmland Trust (AFT) calculates that
fifteen percent of all land developed in our entire history as a nation was
developed in the most recent five year period." Previous surveys have found
that few city-state partnerships to deal with the issue of sprawl. Mayor
Clancey cited the AFT as one of the Conference’s strongest partners on this
effort, and stressed the importance of the Conference and AFT’s urban/rural
coalition to address these issues.

Brownfields redevelopment and farmland preservation are among the
Conference’s highest priorities. At the January Meeting of the Conference
of Mayors, Mayor Webb presented "A New Agenda for America’s Cities" before
more than 200 Mayors. The ten-point "New Agenda," which the Conference has
called upon Presidential Candidates to adopt, calls for federal action to
help eradicate the nation’s estimated 600,000 brownfields sites, and to
restore these properties to productive use while preserving farmland and
open spaces.

The full report, and searchable city results, is available at the
Conference’s website, www.usmayors.org.

The U. S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of
cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,100 such
cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by
its chief elected official, the mayor.

Jubi Headley, USCM Public Affairs, on-site in FL, cell phone (202) 744-9337

Tony Iallonardo, USCM Public Affairs in Washington at (202) 861-6772 Juan
Medieta, spokesman, Office of Mayor Penelas, (305) 375-1545
To read CPEO's archived Brownfields messages visit

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