The Pulaski County Brownfields and Our House partnered to redevelop the grounds of former Little Rock Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital into a campus that would best serve the needs of the organization and the community.
The Pulaski County Community Services Brownfields Program is federally funded through U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants to identify and assess possible contaminated properties and assist with any possible clean-up in order to make a property viable. The Pulaski County Brownfields Program was established to loan/sub-grant clean-up money to qualified prospective property buyers and adheres to the principles of promoting economic development, protecting the environment and building a better community. In doing so, has strategically leveraged over $38 million dollars from three million in grant dollars; used assessment grants to confirm nineteen brownfield sites for potential redevelopment throughout Pulaski County; and has been critical in redeveloping sites of downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock with environmental issues.
What Are Brownfields?
Brownfields are underutilized or abandoned properties in which future development is complicated by the perception or presence of environmental contaminants. Brownfields sites can include land or buildings containing asbestos, mold or other pollutants; former industrial and commercial sites such as gas stations, dry cleaning facilities, grain elevators, and landfills. Private-public partnerships are often the catalyst in the transition of such properties from blight to vibrant developments. Pulaski County’s Brownfields Program supports prospective purchasers in redeveloping urban properties by providing site assessments and assisting with remediation.
Brownfields Program Benefits
Completing a Phase I Site Assessment before the purchase of a property generally fulfills the All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) requirement. Fulfilling AAI is a critical step in protecting a future landowner’s liability with respect to contamination. In the event the Phase I identifies the possible presence of contamination, the Brownfields Program may be able to provide a Phase II environmental investigation that will provide a more accurate assessment.
If a property has environmental concerns, developers can run into difficulty obtaining standard bank financing due to liability. In such cases, the Brownfields Program has a revolving loan fund to provide low-interest gap financing for environmental clean-up activities. The Brownfields Program also supports nonprofit organizations’ development with projects through technical assistance and clean-up grants.
The Pulaski County Brownfields Program Can Provide:
No cost environmental assessments for qualifying redevelopment projects in Pulaski County
Low interest environmental clean-up loan funds to aid redevelopment
Grants to nonprofits for environmental clean-up to aid redevelopment
Identification of Brownfields
Consultations with property owners, developers & prospective purchasers
Assistance with state or federal regulatory agency programs
Phase I/II site assessments
Review of environmental documentation on redevelopment sites