The Allegan County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA) was established in January of 2007 under the auspices of Public Act 381 of 1996, as amended by Public Act 145 of 2000. The mission of the BRA is to identify and to facilitate improvement of environmentally distressed areas so as to promote revitalization within the County and existing Brownfields. The County has established a Brownfield Plan as the basis for revitalization of sites and structures satisfying certain eligibility criteria, bringing to bear certain incentives and tools for assisting private development.
The Allegan County Board of Commissioners has determined that the entire County shall be included as the area in which projects may be designated for inclusion within the Brownfield Plan.
What is a “Brownfield”?
According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "brownfields" are idle, abandoned, or under-used properties where expansion or redevelopment is hindered by real or perceived structural conditions. Until recently, the redevelopment of such properties was particularly hindered by strict environmental laws. Typical businesses that leave behind such contaminated sites include:
- Gas stations
- Oil refineries
- Dry cleaners
- Liquid/chemical storage facilities
- Steel and heavy manufacturing plants
Rationale for Brownfield Redevelopment
The presence of underused or vacant industrial properties is often caused by industries moving to suburban or rural sites, where land and taxes are less expensive. The owners of the remaining vacant facilities have trouble selling their sites, as possible buyers are wary of potential liability for cleanup costs and environmental contamination. As a result, many sites end up being abandoned, decreasing the tax base of the area and becoming sources of blight in the community. The redevelopment of brownfields can provide many benefits to a community, including the following:
- Maintains the vitality of the urban core
- Triggers redevelopment on-site and in the neighborhood
- Provides a successful alternative to conventional Greenfield development
- Spurs and leverages economic growth
- Job creation
- Cleans up environmental contamination