Panhandle Area Development District
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Brownfields Redevelopment 
A brownfield typically is a commercial or industrial property that is vacant, abandoned, or underutilized and may be impacted by hazardous substances, pollutants, or other contaminants. 
Redevelopment Process and Resources 
Brownfields Success Story from Twin Cities Development (TCD) and the City of Gering, NE
A brownfields inventory process identified an abandoned elementary school taking up entire city block as a priority site. The school was dilapidated, costing city law enforcement an estimated $6,000 in resources to patrol the site. An NDEQ funded assessment found asbestos, lead based paint, and black mold made the building unsalvageable. 
Equipped with the environmental assessment information, the City of Gering and TCD could move forward confidently. The City of Gering paid to demolish the buildling and put in the necessary utilities for the construction of new homes.  
Ten new homes were built on the site, five of which were built by the Gering Construction class. Gering.  And got 10 new homes for $150,000 average. New families were added to the neighborhood and with a combined appraised value of over $1.4 million, new revenue was added to the tax-base. 
Site Identification and Inventory
For communities and developers wanting to focus on brownfields as a community development strategy. 

Communities should get started with two basic activities:
  • Identify community needs
  • Brainstorm brownfields sites

Knowing your community needs, your brownfields sites and those sites' characteristics can prepare you for ​development opportunities and spark ideas.  
PADD can assist in facilitating a community brownfields workshop or education to get your brownfields initiative rolling.  

Regional Inventory
PADD and 15 of its communities recently completed brownfields inventories identifying 217 brownfield sites across the region. 

Communities with brownfield inventories: 
  • Bayard
  • Bridgeport
  • Chadron
  • Chappell
  • Crawford
  • Gering
  • Gordon
  • Hay Springs
  • Hemingford
  • Kimball
  • Mitchell
  • Morrill
  • Rushville
  • Scottsbluff
  • Terrytown

Contact Daniel at or representatives from these communities for more information about sites and this project. Project was funded via a grant from the ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry). 
Why should I care about brownfields?
Focusing on brownfields properties can address many community needs at once. ​

  • Address health risks of contamination
  • Reduce blight and redevelop run-down properties
  • Reduce liability of current owners of dangerous properties
  • Spur development in the core of your community
  • Make the most of properties already served by utilities/infrastructure
  • Revitalize historic places and buildings unique to your community
Environmental Site Assessments
For buyers, sellers, and communities needing more information and data about the potential contamination of a particular property. 

Environmental Site Assessments answer the folowing questions: 
  • Is the property impacted by contaminants?
  • What contaminants are present?
  • Are the concentrations of these contaminants such that the site needs to be cleaned up prior to redevelopment? 

Benefits to buyers: 
  • Liability protection regarding existing contamination prior to purchase
  • Banks will not loan on commercial/industrial property without a Phase I in hand

Benefits to sellers:
  • Assessments may help you market your property.  Contamination is often just perception and assessments may show that a property is not as contaminated as commonly believed. 
  • If there is contamination the ability to quantify it with a Phase II ESA is beneficial in that the cost of any necessary clean can be established- helping you and and buyer can move forward. 

​Resources for Brownfield ESAs
Units of local government may apply for free site assessments from NDEQ (Neb. Dept. of Environmental Quality) or EPA. If you are a private entity, but the redevelopment of the property is in the interest of your community, your local government or PADD can apply for a free site assessment of your property from NDEQ or EPA. You will need to grant access to your property via a written agreement. 

Clean-up and Redevelopment
For projects which have a known presence and quantity of contamination. 

Clean-up and redevelopment projects must have an end use established. Grant and financing resources for contamination clean-up and redevelopment are available but depend on the end use.  

​EPA, NDEQ (Neb. Dept. of Environmental Quality), and others have some resources for clean-up.  PADD hosts a small fund for no or low-interest loans for eligible clean-up activities.  NDEQ's Voluntary Clean-up Program (VCP) is a streamlined, results-based approach to site-specific clean-up designed to be more flexible than traditional clean-up programs. Property owners can contact DEQ for more information to ensure sites are cleaned-up with an assurance of no further needed action. 

RESOURCE: Neb. Panhandle Brownfields Redevelopment Guidebook
Kansas State University's Technical Assistance to Brownfields program provides free technical assistance to Panhandle communities and other stakeholders with brownfields redevelopment efforts. Click the logo for more info.