What is a Brownfield? Print E-mail

According to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a “brownfields site” is real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

Essentially brownfields are abandoned, idled or underused properties where the threat or suspicions of environmental issues may hinder or have hindered redevelopment or reuse of the properties.

Brownfields are not just for big cities. This region has a rich history in rural manufacturing and industry. Many of the region’s rural communities have lost their industries and have taken hard economic hits over that last few decades.  Conversely these areas are ripe for brownfields redevelopment opportunities. 

The brownfields program and approach is but one more tool to add to the economic development efforts in this region’s rural area.  The Brownfields program dovetails with other economic development assistance and resources to address liability protection, building reuse incentives, downtown revitalization efforts and form a comprehensive economic development program.

Communities should foster redevelopment of brownfields opportunities as part of their overall economic development strategies and long term sustainability efforts in order to reuse existing infrastructure, encourage adaptive reuse of existing buildings, remove blight, promote neighborhood revitalization, as well as enhance overall community health and welfare.  This strategy will also increase tax bases and revenues, create jobs within neighborhoods and central communities, improve the appearance of the entire community, and in some cases help develop green spaces in communities.


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Typical Brownfields Sites
NC Brownfields Program
Federal Brownfields Program
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