Brownfield Redevelopment

What are Brownfield Sites?

Earlier decades of industry and manufacturing have left some properties in Michigan environmentally degraded, contaminated with heavy metals, organic and inorganic chemicals, petroleum constituents, and containing dilapidated buildings and debris.  Brownfield sites are abandoned, idle, or under-used industrial and commercial properties, often in urban areas, where expansion or redevelopment is hindered or complicated by real or perceived environmental conditions. Brownfield problems are not limited to large cities with long histories of heavy industry and large-scale manufacturing activity.  Small towns and villages in Michigan also have properties suspected of contamination, or old buildings which have become eyesores in need of demolition. Revitalization of Brownfield sites is critically important to Michigan.  Brownfield sites present challenges to potential developers, whether contamination is discovered or suspected.  Michigan legislation encourages solutions to historical contamination while protecting human health and natural resources.

What Assistance is Available in St. Clair County for the Redevelopment of Brownfield Sites?

Michigan has developed several incentives for redevelopment, including cost-effective cleanup options, causation-based liability, liability protection for new owners, and grants and loans available to local units of government. Innovative use of available federal, state, and local resources can be incorporated into redevelopment incentives to support expansion and to encourage new businesses to locate in Michigan.

In 2004, the St. Clair County Board of Commissioners established the St. Clair County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (SCCBRA) to assist in the revitalization of contaminated properties throughout the county. The SCCBRA is managed by the St. Clair County Metropolitan Planning Commission. In 2017, the SCCBRA—along with the St. Clair County Land Bank Authority, the City of Port Huron, the City of Marysville and Port Huron Township—was awarded its second EPA Brownfield Coalition Assessment Grant; its first grant was awarded in 2010. This grant can be used to assess the environmental conditions on sites suspected of being impacted by petroleum products or hazardous substances.

The SCCBRA supports projects throughout St. Clair County that require financial assistance with assessing potential environmental roadblocks or concerns. Michigan's Brownfield Redevelopment programs are some of the best in the nation, providing communities and developers of Brownfields with:

  • Liability protection (for pre-existing environmental contamination)
  • Opportunities for reimbursement of environmental expenditures
  • Opportunities for low-cost loans
  • Reimbursement of eligible redevelopment activities, including demolition and asbestos/lead abatement costs

Beyond the use of the Assessment Grant, Brownfield project funding is also made possible through the use of incremental taxes generated by redevelopment projects approved in a Brownfield Plan.

How Can Brownfield Redevelopment Benefit Local Communities?

Reusing our Brownfield sites makes sense economically and environmentally.  Natural areas and green spaces are less likely to succumb to urban sprawl and development when properties are available with existing infrastructure, ready to meet other business needs.

PLEASE BE SURE to contact the Brownfield Director, Geoff Donaldson, at (810-989-6950), if you have questions or wish to verify the documents posted on this site are the most current version.



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