2012 Brownfield Renewal Person of the Year Nominees
Yvonne Mallory , Brownfields Program Manager, Economic Development Manager — City of Gardena (22+)
Reason:Yvonne Mallory is a one-woman powerhouse. She works miracles for the City of Gardena with the limited resources available to her. Gardena is a city with heavy industrial and commercial…Yvonne Mallory is a one-woman powerhouse. She works miracles for the City of Gardena with the limited resources available to her. Gardena is a city with heavy industrial and commercial land uses mixed in closely with residential properties. Gardena has numerous gas stations with leaking USTs, dry cleaners with solvent releases, and a significant metals industry due to Southern California's role in World War II manufacturing and the proliferation of the aerospace industry following World War II. Over the past decade, Yvonne has successfully obtained multiple brownfields grant from the U.S. EPA for assessment of contaminated and blighted properties in Gardena. She actively tracks the environmental investigation and remediation of many chemical release sites in Gardena where contamination is affecting off-site properties and residents. Her work has facilitated redevelopment of many sites in Gardena, including a 9 acre former retail swap meet and gas station site with the City's new municipal bus line and transit facility, the 10 acre former Honeywell site with commercial properties at Gardena Marketplace, and several others.
Yvonne is currently focusing on future remediation and redevelopment of the Gardena Sumps site, which is located on a corner of a primary business and traffic corridor in the City. Following industrial clay excavations in the 1930s, the resulting pits were filled with refinery wastes, tank bottom sludges, and rinse water acids until the late 1950s. Today the site is highly contaminated, fenced, and partially capped. Yvonne has forged a partnership with the environmental agency and the responsible party and is working diligently to insure that future remedial alternatives are compatible with redevelopment and beneficial reuse of this site.
Yvonne's commitment to the City of Gardena and her work are impressive and humbling to those who know and work with her. She has unmatched drive and determination to improve the City of Gardena, to address the many Brownfields sites and contaminated properties, and to make Gardena an environmentally safe and friendly city for redevelopment. The long years of hard work and selfless dedication of someone so tenacious and unshakable in her resolve should be recognized and rewarded. I am honored to nominate Yvonne Mallory for the 2012 Brownfield Renewal Person of the Year Award. read more
Andy Blake , City Manager — City of Ranson, WV (6)
Reason:With all projects and especially those associated with brownfields redevelopment, you need to have a visionary, someone who is not only dedicated to the project and their community, but someone who is…With all projects and especially those associated with brownfields redevelopment, you need to have a visionary, someone who is not only dedicated to the project and their community, but someone who is willing to use innovative approaches, listen to other’s expertise and ideas, perform their own research, and ultimately sacrifice their personal time and invest themselves wholly to achieve the goals that he, his staff, City Council and business owners/residents have set for their community. Hands down, Andy Blake is this person. Andy, for the City of Ranson has not only been a visionary and dedicated manager, but an advocate for creating a vision for the future and sticking to a plan that will dictate where his community wants to be, and what it wants to be to be 10, 20 or 100 years in the future. Andy, his staff and the City Council’s vision which has wholeheartedly been supported by the community, has been to recreate their town into one of the most sustainable cities in the country – one where its residents can live, work and play (a mantra that we all use in Ranson these days). With that said, Andy has been instrumental in working with EPA, WV DEP, HUD and DOT, Ranson's sister city Charles Town, and the multiple consultants and developers involved with many of the projects in both cities. He has worked with all parties, many times into the wee hours of the night to ensure that the monies received from the numerous federal grants are invested appropriately and result in success stories both small and large. The big success stories include the American Public University Academic Center (LEED Gold) and new Finance Center (LEED Silver), the redevelopment of a former Maytag facility into the Ranson Civic Center (utilized by both cities), purchasing and beginning redevelopment on the former Kidde Brass & Aluminum foundry, creating and implementing "Smart Code" for Ranson and developing one of the first "Complete Streets" in the state, among many other small accomplishments such as incorporating bioswales into the “complete streets” and around other brownfields developments to manage stormwater, and development of small pocket parks and larger park systems that will manage stormwater runoff. Andy has set a great example for others with his work ethic, dedication and vision for the future which has resulted in Ranson not only becoming the poster child for Brownfields Redevelopment in WV but across the nation. If Andy could be cloned and distributed to other communities across the country we would all breathe a little easier with our clean air, play a little more in the parks distributed throughout our community; and possibly live and/or retire in a place where we could walk to the local grocery store, green space or park, movie theatre, and our job. Utopia has always been a dream, and Ranson with the help of Andy and his friends may just put us one step closer to making utopia a reality!
Forward and aggressive leadership in addressing and solving his City's Brownfield issues. Assembled and manages a team who are working on the cutting edge of zoning, utilization, funding, innovative and adaptive reuse in a City that was a manufacturering center loaded with brownfields that now sprout and will sprout new jobs. A model of civic entreprenurial zeal for the benefit of his Cityread more
Anthony Sblendorio , Founder & Principal — Back to Nature Home & Garden (20)
As one of the pioneers of sustainable and regenerative design in New Jersey, Anthony has more than 20 years of experience in the creation of exquisite landscapes that fuse inspired site design…Introduction
As one of the pioneers of sustainable and regenerative design in New Jersey, Anthony has more than 20 years of experience in the creation of exquisite landscapes that fuse inspired site design with the values of regenerative landscapes.
Anthony founded Back to Nature in 1994 with the goal of designing and building ecologically and economically sustainable projects that regenerate natural resources to create healthy and beautiful environments. While Back to Nature focused on high-end landscape architecture for the first decade of its existence, it has since grown into a multifaceted company with a land development division that is responsible for some of the most innovative projects in New Jersey. As the lead site designer for the Willow School in Bedminster, New Jersey, Back to Nature brought the first LEED Gold certified building to the state. Anthony recently expanded his green mission with the opening of Back to Nature Home & Garden, the company’s first retail location. The store offers a new take on the traditional garden center with a wholly organic approach, focus on native plants and an interior space with artisan crafted house wares and gifts. Realizing that education is key to ensuring change, Anthony also included an event center at the store. Educational classes on eco-friendly topics ranging from organic gardening to honey bees and rain garden design are held regularly. As a committed member of the local community, he has also extended invitations to area organizations to use the space for their meetings or events, thereby helping to increase their success and visibility.
• Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture
• Mine Brook Road, Bernards Township
We approached the township and the neighboring residents and fully engaged them in the design process. Driven by their feedback, we designed a property that protected and enhanced all of the attributes of the land that were most important to the community and the environment including: land preservation, ground water recharge and soil health, sustainable agriculture, green building and energy efficient design, character preservation, view shed protection, and natural resource enhancement. Master plan will include constructed wetlands, natural stormwater system, on-site community organic farming and gardening.
• The Willow School, Peapack-Gladstone, New Jersey. K-8 private school campus with Gold and Platinum LEED ratings was created with a holistic and regenerative design minimizing the impact on the land while restoring the ecological systems and incorporating the site as an integrated teaching tool for the students. Master planning for the new Health, Nutrition and Wellness Center is currently in the design phase, with plans to bring interactive approach to teach students using their ambient environment. This new building will achieve a LEED platinum rating and will comply with The Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge guidelines. One of the main focuses of the master plan is to treat and recycle all water on site.
• Fern Valley in Tewksbury Township is the first sustainable residential development in Hunterdon County. It has been praised by the Hunterdon County Planning Board, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions for its innovative systems, such as water harvesting, constructed wetlands for stormwater purification and ground water recharge, habitat reclamation, and woodland management.
• Ecological Restoration: Ten Towns Great Swamp Watershed Committee, New Jersey
Converted a conventional stormwater basin into a constructed wetland with native plants reducing maintenance, improving water quality, and increasing biodiversity.
• Municipal Consulting: Bernards Township, New Jersey
Developed guidelines for planting installations, inspected all plantings in new developments, and created planting plans for numerous public spaces.
• Pyne Property, Basking Ridge, NJ
• Millington Quarry, Millington, NJ
• Featured in New Jersey Network documentary, Green Builders
• New Jersey Chapter Award
American Society of Landscape Architects
Awarded to Back to Nature for the Cotroneo Residence
• Landscape Design Honor Award
The Perennial Plant Association
Awarded to Back to Nature for the Wynne Residence, Cotroneo Residence Willow School
• Landscape Design Merit Award
The Perennial Plant Association
Awarded to Back to Nature for the Willow School
• Special Recognition Award for Sustainable Design
Urban Land Institute Northern New Jersey Chapter
Awarded to Back to Nature for the Willow School
• Zone Horticulture Award
The Garden Club of Morristown
Awarded to Anthony Sblendorio for achievement in landscape architecture including beauty, sensitivity, respect for the environment and creative use of plant material.
• Green Development Award
Hunterdon County Planning Board
Awarded to Back to Nature for Fern Valley
• Featured in the Wall Street Journal, NJ Design, New York Times, CNN Headline News, Colonial Homes, and NJ Monthly for these award-winning designs.
• Rutgers University – taught the first Regenerative Planning Studio semester.
• New Jersey Institute of Technology – taught the first Regenerative Planning Studio semester.
• NJ Dept of Environmental Protection – taught a training seminar on regenerative design.
• Speaker for the Annual Congress of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions
• Speaker for the US Green Building Council National Conference
• Speaker for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
• Speaker at the Meadowlands Commission first Green Summit
• Speaker at the Ten Towns for the Great Swamp Annual Meeting
• Speaker for the Raritan River Conference
• LEED Accredited Professional, US Green Building Council
• American Society of Landscape Architects
• Bernards Township Green Team
• American Nursery and Landscape Association
• Willow School Board of Trustees
Reason:Paul has led some of the most successful and visible renewable energy projects on brownfields in the country.
Most recently, and the reason why I believe he deserves this award this year, Paul…Paul has led some of the most successful and visible renewable energy projects on brownfields in the country.
Most recently, and the reason why I believe he deserves this award this year, Paul led the efforts to develop a 2 MW solar farm on the capped and closed landfill in Greenfield, Ma.
Paul demonstrated both engineering and financial acumen in moving this project forward to successful completion. The project takes advantage of Massachusetts policies that seek to promote solar, and achieves a tremendous savings for the Town of Greenfield, moving them from paying $ .11/kwh to $ .01/kwh for the first ten years of the PPA. This cost differential saves Greenfield approximately $140,000 per year.
Like many development projects, the Greenfield Solar Farm had it’s twists and turns. Paul astutely combined two distinct federal programs to help get the project financed. He demonstrated perseverance explaining complicated financial structures to multiple partners. He navigated the project through the process of beginning as a project of Axio Power, then transferring ownership through the acquisition of Axio Power by SunEdison.
Paul led the Axio Team that successfully submitted the first “Post Closure Use Permit” to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP did an especially thorough job, as the Department knew that this first permit would be a model for the dozens that have been applied for and given since. To both Paul and DEP’s credit, the permit became a precedent setting model that others have used to guide their permitting activities.Before the Greenfield Solar Farm, Paul led efforts at BQ Energy to develop the Steel Winds project in Lackawana, NY, an initial 20 MW wind development on the brownfield U.S. Steel site outside Buffalo. Throughout the development of Steel Winds, Paul worked closely with numerous stakeholders, including the City of Lackawanna, National Grid, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC), First Wind, Clipper Windpower, and ArcelorMittal Steel to bring the project to a successful conclusion. Responsibilities included:
• Structuring a site lease with ArcelorMittal
• Structuring an interconnection agreement with National Grid
• Bidding and securing a Renewable Energy Credit (REC) contract
• Procuring wind turbines through First Wind (the UPC Wind) and Clipper Windpower
• Negotiating and securing financing for the project
• Negotiating the removal of a portion of the site from the National Priorities List
• Environmental remediation under the NYDEC Brownfields Cleanup Program
In Summary, Paul’s accomplishments on brownfield development of both solar and wind projects like the Greenfield Solar Farm and Steel Winds warrant him winning the Brownfield Renewal Person of the Year Award. read more
Scott Badenoch , Counsel — Realty Restoration Gift Fund (2)
Reason:Scott is a brilliant visionary with a long-term look at cleaning up brownfields…Scott is a brilliant visionary with a long-term look at cleaning up brownfieldsread more
Daniel Walsh , Director — NYC Mayor's Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) (25)
Reason:Dr. Daniel Walsh is the founding Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation which runs the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP)—the first municipally run, cleanup program in the US. The…Dr. Daniel Walsh is the founding Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation which runs the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP)—the first municipally run, cleanup program in the US. The BCP was launched in 2011 and has approved 65 cleanup plans that will pave the way for over 4 million square feet of new development and associate private investment of over $2 billion in new construction. He has been a champion for highly challenged properties in poor communities—over 75% of the properties are in historically disadvantage neighborhoods and burdened with an average property vacancy of almost two decades. These projects are expected to generate over 2500 permanent new jobs and over 5000 construction jobs and over 1000 new units of affordable housing and over 1 million square feet of new retail, office and industrial space.
Walsh is a 25-year veteran of environmental cleanup in NYC where he has run the State Superfund program, the State Brownfield Remediation Program, the State Solid Waste Landfill Remediation Program and was the Chief of Operations for New York State’s environmental response to the World Trade disaster. He was appointed by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2008 and immediately showed he could work well with industry, with communities and with other levels of government. In 2008, he established the NYC Brownfield Partnership, an association of almost 60 environmental businesses and community based organizations that is dedicated to community service and to the advancement of brownfields in NYC. Now a 501c3, it operates the annual Big Apple Brownfield Award Program and a pro bono environmental expert referral program to bring expertise to disadvantaged projects. In 2010, he established a landmark agreement with the State of New York to provide State liability protection for developers that use the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program. In 2010, he established SPEED, the country’s first real estate and environmental research engine that provides public database and government environmental database information on every property in NYC. In 2012, his office released four educational videos in its Cleaning Up NYC video series.
Dr. Walsh is an adjunct professor at Columbia University where he performs research on the environmental history of NYC. read more
Jean Derenzy , Deputy Director of Planning and Development — Grand Traverse County (15)
Reason:Grand Traverse County (MI) has one of the most successful Brownfield programs in the state of Michigan thanks in large part to Jean Derenzy, its director since its inception in 1997. …Grand Traverse County (MI) has one of the most successful Brownfield programs in the state of Michigan thanks in large part to Jean Derenzy, its director since its inception in 1997. With her dedication to public service and sheer determination to get things done, Derenzy led the Grand Traverse County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority in directing over $250M in private investment, creating more than 1,650 jobs and cleaning-up 17 sites in a rural county with a population of less than 100,000. This investment has been instrumental in the growth and sustainability of the Traverse City region during the Michigan’s one-state, decade long recession that started in 2001.
At a time when most communities were going it alone, Derenzy successfully encouraged and facilitated collaboration among local leaders and developers for environmental remediation and economic improvement within a countywide scope. The greatest example of this success is the redevelopment of the former Traverse City State Hospital, now the Village at Grand Traverse Commons – the largest brownfield project in northern Michigan and one of the largest mixed-use developments in the state of Michigan. With over 750,000 square feet of space in 27 buildings sprawled over 500 acres, this emerging village with its historic charm will bring an estimated $167M in private investment by its completion. Raymond Minervini of The Minervini Group, owner/developer of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons said, “Ms. Derenzy, as the director of the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, has been instrumental in bringing millions of dollars of brownfield redevelopment incentives and economic activity to Grand Traverse County. Measured in state brownfield dollars, our county is one of the most successful in the state. Over the past several years of our project on the Grand Traverse Commons, we have seen first-hand the private investment resulting from Ms. Derenzy’s efforts to direct state cleanup and redevelopment dollars into our county. It’s good for everyone when blight is transformed into homes and businesses.” The Village was recently honored with the 2011 Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation and recognized as “one of the projects that are making a difference in Michigan” by Gary Heidel, Executive Director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).
In a bay front community where water quality is top priority, Derenzy helped set the priority for environmental remediation with the redevelopment of River’s Edge, site of the former Traverse City Iron Works. From a long vacant factory into a mixed-use development featuring the world headquarters of premier classic car insurance company, Hagerty, River’s Edge has seen over $65M in private investment and the creation of over 450 jobs.
With state and local officials working in tandem, Derenzy extended this collaboration to the US EPA by securing a $200,000 Petroleum Site Assessment grant in 2008 and most recently, a $1M Revolving Loan Fund grant. This application was recognized by David R. Lloyd, US EPA Office Director of Brownfields and Land Revitalization, for the submission of “an outstanding grant proposal for a Revolving Loan Fund grant.”
An article, co-written by Derenzy, was published in Brownfield News outlining how Michigan has set the pace for redevelopment and has been cited in studies such as “Michigan Brownfield Redevelopment Innovation: Two Decades of Success” a study sponsored by Michigan Sea Grant College Program under US Department of Commerce.
Respected by her counterparts throughout Michigan, Derenzy was selected by Governor Rick Snyder, State Director of Environmental Quality Dan Wyant and Michigan State University Extension Director Tom Coon to the Collaborative Stakeholders Initiative (CSI), which made key recommendations in a new era of Michigan’s Brownfield legislation.
For 15 years, Jean Derenzy has been in the forefront of Michigan’s brownfield movement, establishing herself both an authority and visionary garnering respect among peers and industry professionals with significant results, never losing sight of the goal to clean the environment, improve our quality of life, and protect our water. Derenzy exemplifies the spirit of all that the Brownfield Renewal Person of the Year represents. She has truly been an “individual who has and continues to demonstrate the ability to innovate, collaborate”. Jean Derenzy is someone who exhibits unique vision and generates positive results for Grand Traverse County, Michigan and the industry as a whole. read more
William Murdock , Deputy Director — Ohio Department of Development Services (At least more than 10)
Reason:William Murdock has guided the Clean Ohio Program for the past few years and helped make it one of the strongest programs in the nation. …William Murdock has guided the Clean Ohio Program for the past few years and helped make it one of the strongest programs in the nation. read more
Dr. Ian Webster , President — Project Navigator, Ltd. (30+)
Reason:Dr. Webster has been President of Project Navigator, Ltd. since 1997. At the companies inception, the main goal was to coordinate and oversee remediation projects of superfund sites in southern California. Since…Dr. Webster has been President of Project Navigator, Ltd. since 1997. At the companies inception, the main goal was to coordinate and oversee remediation projects of superfund sites in southern California. Since then, the company has grown nation wide allowing Project Navigator to offer services to projects like the remediation of the former Asarco smelter site in El Paso, TX as well as being involved as the Independent Review Panel Manager for the Chromium 6 remediation project in Hinkley, CA. Over the past three years, Project Navigator has started a sister company called PV Navigator, LLC which specializes in the development of solar generating plants on Brownfield and Landfill sites. More about this company can be found at www.PVNavigator.com. Ian has also been presenting this concept at various Brownfield conventions over the past year. PVNavigator, LLC has grown from having a 2MW landfill project in development in the first year to now over 50MW's under development and a pipeline of over 250MW's of solar on landfill projects. Solar development on a closed landfill is a win-win situation for the landfill owner (typically the local municipality) and the local community who utilize the green energy produced from these facilities. Solar facilities on landfills create a productive and beneficial use on a vacant parcel of otherwise useless land.read more
Miles Ballogg , Director Brownfields and Economic Development — Cardno TBE (10+)
Reason: Miles formerly served as the co–chair of the Florida Brownfields Association’s Brownfields Environmental Justice and Public Health committee and is the catalyst behind the Highway to Health (Care) Initiative. “The Highway… Miles formerly served as the co–chair of the Florida Brownfields Association’s Brownfields Environmental Justice and Public Health committee and is the catalyst behind the Highway to Health (Care) Initiative. “The Highway to Health (Care) Initiative is exploring strategies to increase the reuse of petroleum contaminated and abandoned and underutilized auto related sites (car lots, junk yards, etc.) into end uses that support public health including; Community Health Clinics, Hospitals, Medical Office, Community Gardens, Grocery Stores, Pharmacy, Open Space/Green Space, Recreation, Bio-medical, Medical Device Manufacturing, Health related Job Training and other end uses that will improve Health Care and the health of underserved communities.”
The resulting focus on the delivery of health and healthcare not only sheds light on the role and accomplishments of practitioners working throughout the brownfields arena, it also resonates with all levels of government striving to address the concerns of identified “communities of need.” Nothing promotes the proliferation of successful approaches more than the capture and dissemination of insights derived from practitioners working in the field that make the brownfields-revitalization process work. These are practitioners that routinely foster the assessment, cleanup and subsequent revitalization of abandoned, underutilized sites that also take time to educate and inform other interested stakeholders.
To that end, Miles has and continues to shed light on the brownfields-revitalization challenges and accomplishments derived from communities found in the State of Florida as well as those derived from other practitioners working across the country.
The brainchild derived by Miles that is called the “Highway to Healthcare Initiative” can and will serve as a guide for a broad range of stakeholders to use as a means for enhancing community engagement so more abandoned, underutilized sites are ultimately returned to productive use.
Through his tireless communications and outreach efforts the “Highway to Healthcare Initiative” is being touted as a compliment to EPA’s Community Engagement initiative” and serves as an “exit strategy” for routing petroleum brownfields into the community revitalization arena. Miles has championed opportunities associated with this initiative at numerous conferences and through various publications. In addition, Miles has been known to go the “extra” mile to ensure that all stakeholders and communities he assists generate successful outcomes and protection of human health and the environment.
Nothing would be more fitting than to recognize these efforts which not only provide a beacon of hope for “needy communities” but also provide a model approach for other practitioners working in the brownfields revitalization industry, to emulate.
Tireless advocacy for environmental justice and commitment to creating fairer, healthier communities through the revitalization process.read more
Marianne Horinko , President — The Horinko Group (29)
Reason:Marianne L. Horinko is an internationally-recognized environmental risk manager with expertise in forging progress using partnerships, innovation and flexibility. Ms. Horinko’s expertise also includes litigation support; regulatory advice; facilitation of watershed-based…Marianne L. Horinko is an internationally-recognized environmental risk manager with expertise in forging progress using partnerships, innovation and flexibility. Ms. Horinko’s expertise also includes litigation support; regulatory advice; facilitation of watershed-based cleanups; and public speaking. She currently directs The Horinko Group, a small environmental consulting firm that she founded in January 2008.
The Brownfields program, signed into law by President Bush in 2002, is the embodiment of innovative approaches. Ms. Horinko’s expertise in creating collaborative solutions through unique public-private partnerships and innovation assisted in passage of the landmark Brownfields legislation in 2002. Ms. Horinko served as EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) from 2001 to 2004 and as Acting EPA Administrator in 2003 between Christine Todd Whitman and Michael Leavitt. Under her leadership, the budget for the Brownfields program more than doubled. Marianne Horinko’s dedication to Brownfields Redevelopment is further seen in in her presence on the board of the National Brownfields Association. She was recently selected as the Chair for the National Brownfield Association’s newly formed Brownfield Advocacy Committee.
During her time at The Horinko Group, Ms. Horinko has continued to work with the private and public sectors to improve our nation’s cleanup programs. The Horinko Group is working with EPA and industry representatives to design a voluntary challenge program to promote the revitalization and return to productive reuse of corporate underutilized properties. To this end, The Horinko Group coordinated a focus group in November 2008 with corporate remediation leaders and EPA office directors to discuss the most effective incentives and rewards that this program might offer. Currently, the voluntary program is being examined by the new administration. If EPA leadership decides to proceed, The Horinko Group will assist EPA in rolling out the challenge program to a wider range of stakeholders.
As EPA Assistant Administrator and Acting Administrator, Ms. Horinko led the federal waste recycling, conservation, management, and cleanup programs, including Superfund, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and Clean Air Act Risk Management Plan programs. She also pioneered the National Approach to Response after leading the 9/11, anthrax, and Columbia shuttle recovery emergency responses. read more
Ms. Drake Patten , Executive Director — The Steel Yard (5)
Reason:Over the six years in her role as the Director of the non-profit, The Steel Yard, Drake Patten has captured a unique vision and affected real change in the blighted industrial valley…Over the six years in her role as the Director of the non-profit, The Steel Yard, Drake Patten has captured a unique vision and affected real change in the blighted industrial valley of Providence, Rhode Island. She not only took on the job of running the organization; she inherited the task of converting their derelict industrial site from a Brownfield to a ‘campus’ that serves their mission of teaching and providing job training in the fabrication arts.
Not afraid of digging in the dirt, Drake knew that in order to make her organization reach its next level of potential, she had to lead the process of capping the 3.5-acre site. With limited funds, Drake hired a design team led by landscape architects including various disciplines of engineers and environmental scientists. Together with the staff and various stakeholders, the team developed a predominantly landscape based solution that accomplishes many things; properly caps the site, manages storm water, meets the budget restrictions, provides landscape spaces for furthering of the organization’s programs and future, and serves as a de facto public park for the re-emerging neighborhood.
Drake knew that the best solution was not the easiest solution and listened to the team’s recommendations, which suggested thinking beyond a straightforward capping of the leaden soil, and instead providing increased environmental benefits by managing stormwater and providing a public open space amenity in a neighborhood that has none. Drake in turn challenged the design team to do all of that within a construction budget of less than 1 million dollars and to do it in such a way that ensured the spatial flexibility that would allow the organization to grow and change.
Enthused by the multivalent quality of the design, Drake was undeterred by the complex regulatory path ahead. By creating not just a perfunctory singular solution to cap the site, but instead providing several capping conditions, the project was complex to begin with; and the addition of the management of stormwater increased the complexity by several fold. The dual challenges of capping contaminated soil and managing storm water without using large cost-prohibitive detention structures required an extensive regulatory process with DEM and the State and local stormwater agencies. In fact the project was held up in the regulatory process for close to 18 months. In this time Drake did not waiver in her commitment to the project but rather continued to push and fight for the project with whomever she could reach. Eventually, her persistence paid off and the project was approved with its intended design and given the go ahead for construction.
Due to Drake’s leadership and persistence, this industrial Providence Brownfield has become a destination that serves people with diverse interests and skills and has generated a new sense of community in the forgotten neighborhood of the city. To date, the Yard has hosted many popular and growing-in-attendance public events as well as educated and job-trained increasing numbers of individuals each year. In 2011 in addition to offering expanded education and training opportunities, the Yard serves as a venue for music, dance, weddings, art markets, movies, and a writers’ series. The new landscape facilitates these user-driven and volunteer-run opportunities for community engagement and neighborhood development.
This quote says it all regarding the impact this project has had on the City of Providence:
“We embedded lessons from the Steel Yard in the city’s comprehensive plan, so it will have an impact on the process for a long time.” – Congressman David Cicilline, former mayor of Providence
And, people are buzzing! Since it’s opening in September 2010, The Steel Yard Brownfield project has been written about extensively (see list below) and garnered many awards from many different organizations, all recognizing the unique ground-breaking project led by the Drake Patten. Awards include: 2012 Senator John Chafee Conservation Leadership Award from the Environmental Council of Rhode Island, 2011 Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects, 2011 Rhody Award from the Rhode Island Historical Commission, 2011 Providence Preservation Society Award, 2011 Great Places Award from The Environmental Design Research Association, and an 2011 Honor Award from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects.
“Rising from the Ashes.” in Metropolis: Game Changers 2011. January 2011
“Case Study: The Steel Yard.” in Principles of Brownfield Regeneration.
Justin Hollander, Niall Kirkwood, Julia Gold. Island Press, 2010
“At Industrial Sites, the Landscape Shifts” in The Boston Globe. Robert Campbell. May 1, 2011
“Heavy Metal: The Steel Yard is all cleaned up and ready for new beginnings.” in Providence Monthly. Alyssa Smith. August 2010 read more
Reason:• Reason for the Nomination –
o Cleaned a 10 acre brownfield site
o Cleaned a potential environmental disaster located next to the Merrimack River
o Cleaned an underground bunker full of 150,000 gallons of grade…• Reason for the Nomination –
o Cleaned a 10 acre brownfield site
o Cleaned a potential environmental disaster located next to the Merrimack River
o Cleaned an underground bunker full of 150,000 gallons of grade 6 fuel oil
o Removed 50 tons of asbestos
o Removed medical waste
o Removed 500,000 sq ft of condemned buildings that created a public danger
• Renovated and leased 180,000 sq ft of mills that represented over 80 years of economic blight
• Built a 64,000 sq ft mixed us building.
• Has started renovations on a 400,000 sq ft mill. read more
Benjamin Delisle , Director of Development — Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (15)
Reason:It is gives me great pleasure to nominate Benjamin J. Delisle for Brownfields Person of the Year award. He is an “unsung hero” of Jersey City’s local brownfields movement. Ben…It is gives me great pleasure to nominate Benjamin J. Delisle for Brownfields Person of the Year award. He is an “unsung hero” of Jersey City’s local brownfields movement. Ben is the Director of Development for the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency. New to New Jersey, Ben hit the ground running, shortly after being hired to jump start and cleanup some of the city’s most contaminated brownfield sites. For the past seven years, Ben has successfully managed the cleanup of several brownfields contaminated sites in Jersey City, New Jersey. One of his most notable projects is Berry Lane Park. Some 17.5 acres in all, Berry Lane is one of the largest municipally owned parks within the City. A group of community residents and city personnel identified the site for a park over a decade ago. The project is located in the middle of an economically depressed and disadvantaged neighborhood that suffers from many of the problems associated with inner city neighborhoods. Environmental justice issues abound, as the brownfields are located directly across the street from numerous residential properties.
Prior to Ben’s arrival, the project languished for lack of direction and focus. If the span of a few years, Ben was able to acquire 10 adjoining sites to assemble the land to create the park. He went through a series of complex negotiations and legal procedures to take title to the properties, six of which had to be acquired using eminent domain. Once all of the tenants were relocated, buildings were demolished and environmental studies completed. The site is currently undergoing its first phase of development, including environmental remediation, installation of various utilities, and the creation of a baseball field.
Under his leadership, approximately $20M was raised from over 20 different private and public funding sources. Of particular note, was the public-private partnership he negotiated with a major responsible party. Under the agreement, the JCRA took over investigations and cleanup for hexavalent chromium, integrating the remediation with the park development. The responsible party paid for all of the work, and contributed to the non-chrome remediation as well. This highly visible public/private partnership effort has involved many intertwined concerns such as regulatory oversight, community revitalization, large scale remediation, and park development.
Ben has facilitated and attended numerous public meetings to ensure the needs of the community were reflected in the final development plans and to keep the community abreast of the remediation plans. Ben has committed so many countless hours and resources to ensuring that this much needed park is built, that his colleagues often refer to it as “Benny Lane Park.”
When he’s not blazing the brownfield trails in Jersey City, Ben is working on cleaning up the Passaic River and creating open space opportunities for youth and adults in a whole another New Jersey county. Ben is a member of the Community advisory group to the EPA on the Lower Passaic River superfund cleanup. As President of Passaic River Rowing Association, PRRA, Ben offers advice and recommendations to guide the cleanup process to minimize its impact on the local environment, wildlife and recreation. Under Ben’s leadership, PRRA has enhanced Bergen County’s open space activities and increased the number of visitors using the park for water related recreation.
His tireless commitment to ensure that Jersey City youth have access to clean, open spaces within a short walking distance from their homes is only one of the many reasons that I am proud to nominate him as Brownfields Renewal Person of the Year. read more
Steve Gross , Senior Project Manager — Hull & Associates, Inc. (> 20 years)
Reason:Steve Gross has been involved in a majority of Hull brownfield projects where he utilizes his vision and creativity in cleaning up and developing environmentally challenged sites. His professionalism and calm…Steve Gross has been involved in a majority of Hull brownfield projects where he utilizes his vision and creativity in cleaning up and developing environmentally challenged sites. His professionalism and calm demeanor allows him to effectively interact with a diverse group of project players to satisfactorily achieve project related goals.read more
William "Bill" Rippetoe , Director of Research & Development — Maxum Resources, LLC (30+)
Reason:Mr. Rippetoe has been providing innovative on-site remedial technologies for soil and groundwater contamination for over 30 years. He began with remediating spills at oil/gas well sites, and has conducted remediation actions…Mr. Rippetoe has been providing innovative on-site remedial technologies for soil and groundwater contamination for over 30 years. He began with remediating spills at oil/gas well sites, and has conducted remediation actions at various types of facilities since then. He is the first person I am aware of that developed and conducted remediation using chemical oxidation. Mr. Rippetoe has invented his remedial techniques through personal research and experience at numerous project sites. He is presently conducting promising research on in-situ remediation of arsenic and radiation. Bill is one of the most genuine people I know, and greatly deserves this recognition. read more
Julie Vasilevich , Executive Vice President, Environmental — USI (27 years in environmental insurance industry)
Reason:Did insurance brokerage placement for client on AIG environmental Pollution Legal Liability insurance policy for the Los Angeles Unified School District in 1999/2000 which eventually resulted in the insurer paying $79,000,000 claim…Did insurance brokerage placement for client on AIG environmental Pollution Legal Liability insurance policy for the Los Angeles Unified School District in 1999/2000 which eventually resulted in the insurer paying $79,000,000 claim settlement which was recently reported. The only way to really evaluate the insurance coverage for these risks is what the results are, not the initial accolades. This was certainly a tough environmental risk, and placements of approaching $100,000,000 in limits of liability are no small undertaking. See link to recent outcome where the policy is paying out $79,000,000.
Reason:During her tenure at the Ohio Development Services Agency, Amy Alduino implemented one the nation’s largest brownfield grant programs. Through her leadership the $400 million portfolio program took on an attitude of…During her tenure at the Ohio Development Services Agency, Amy Alduino implemented one the nation’s largest brownfield grant programs. Through her leadership the $400 million portfolio program took on an attitude of progressive change to meet market needs while adhering to the central goals and missions that make the program so successful. Additionally, Amy was instrumental in the RACER Trust agreements for Ohio sites where she lead the team to fast track some of the first assessment and cleanups in the nation on the basis of economic redevelopment potential. Amy utilized relationships with multiple regulatory agencies, economic development professionals and local governments to develop and organize support teams to initiate projects and carry them to successful conclusion. Her leadership in the Ohio brownfields community is unmatched and her seasoned skills are much deserving of admiration. Please consider my colleague Amy Alduino for this distinguished award.read more
Bradford White, Ph.D., P.G. , President/Principal & Ohio VAP Certified Professional — River Road Redevelopment, LLC/Hull & Associates, Inc. (22)
Reason:Brad White is a principal for an environmental consulting firm, but he is also a developer and a risk taker, investing in Toledo, Ohio’s brownfields when no one else came to the…Brad White is a principal for an environmental consulting firm, but he is also a developer and a risk taker, investing in Toledo, Ohio’s brownfields when no one else came to the table. Brad lives in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area. His first foray into Toledo brownfields was in 2004. The City of Toledo received a $3 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant to clean up a 44-acre brownfield that consisted mainly of old settling ponds for treating effluent from the adjacent glass manufacturing plant. Closure of the ponds would create over a half-mile of developable riverfront property adjacent to Interstate 75 and near downtown Toledo. When negotiations with the original developer stalled, Brad stepped in, and with a small group of investors, he created River Road Redevelopment, LLC and acquired the property. Under Brad’s leadership, this property was successfully cleaned up and was ready when Penn National Gaming, a Pennsylvania-based company, was looking for a site for a Toledo casino. Once they saw the site, Penn National Gaming was quick to negotiate an option to the purchase the property. Once Ohio voters approved casino gambling in 2009, Penn National Gaming invested $300 million to construct the Hollywood Casino that opened in May 2012. It employs more than 1,300 Toledo area residents and has bolstered local tax revenues. Brad’s willingness to take on the ownership of a complicated brownfield without a known end user, and his tenacious site marketing activities led to a great revitalization success story for Toledo.
Brad continued his investment in Toledo in 2010 when he prompted a public-private partnership with Columbia Gas of Ohio, the City of Toledo, and River Road Redevelopment II, LLC (his new special-purpose entity) to clean up a five acre former coal gas manufacturing plant along Swan Creek in Toledo’s Warehouse District. This property had extensive contamination and would be considered by most to be a fatal flaw to development. Brad saw the potential for the property and worked with the City of Toledo to prepare and secure a $3 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant that leveraged significant private funding to clean up the property. Brad White purchased the property from Columbia Gas and completed remediation activities in 2011 and 2012. Hull & Associates, Inc., the firm for which Brad is a Principal and Director of Business Development, will construct its new Toledo office at this location in 2013.
While the Columbia Gas project was underway, Brad and his team saw a complicated brownfield across Swan Creek and he decided he could help the City redevelop this property as well. This Plabell Rubber Company property had been used for a variety of industrial and commercial activities since at least 1888, including The Grasser & Brand Brewing Company, rubber production facility, body repair shop, machine warehouse, automotive depot, and sheet metal works facility. U.S. EPA completed a removal of approximately 30 drums, and 100 other containers of various chemicals inside the Plabell facility in 2009, but much more cleanup work was needed at this property. One building at the property was the scene of a large fire in October 2010 that demanded significant effort by local firefighters. The City of Toledo became the owner of the Plabell property following bank foreclosure and a failed sheriff’s sale attempt. Toledo worked out an agreement with the court appointed trustee to transfer this property to the City to help address health and safety issues and to assist in redeveloping this key property, but we needed a development partner. Brad and his group of investors formed St. Clair Redevelopment, LLC to implement environmental remediation and demolition activities with private funds and funds provided by a Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant that Brad’s team helped secure and by repaid funds originally awarded to the City as part of its U.S. EPA Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund grant. Cleanup work is still underway at this property. This project will result in significant environmental improvements as well as the expansion of the adjacent business, Rivereast Custom Cabinets, Inc., planned residential areas, and green space adjacent to Swan Creek. This property cleanup and redevelopment is a key part of an overall effort to revitalize this portion of Toledo’s Warehouse District.
Brad and his team of investors and environmental consultants have been there for Toledo when we needed help completing complicated brownfield property transactions and remedial activities. He invested in our community without end user commitments. He dedicated significant time and money on properties from which most people would have run away. His efforts are resulting in cleaned up waterfront properties that are transforming the City of Toledo. His continued investment in the Toledo community is greatly appreciated and is deserving of recognition.
Patricia Coppolino , Director, Vermont Brownfields Program — Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation (unsure...I believe 8 years)
Reason:Trish runs Vermont's Brownfields Program, and the unique challenges of the redevelopment of complex sites in rural environments. She is organizing a statewide conference specifically to get feedback from developers on…Trish runs Vermont's Brownfields Program, and the unique challenges of the redevelopment of complex sites in rural environments. She is organizing a statewide conference specifically to get feedback from developers on how things can be improved, has worked hard to generate strong communication between programs across the state, solves site-specific issues, and has streamlined the site management system. In 2011, Tropical Storm Irene destroyed the State Office complex, and caused significant damage across the State. Now working out of temporary quarters, Trish and the DEC staff both responded to the multiple emergency situations, while keeping up with the day to day business of sites management. She is an excellent communicator, and can bridge gaps and negotiate agreements to keep things moving forward. read more
Michael A. Nutter , Mayor of Philadelphia — City of Philadelphia (4 Years)
Reason:When Mayor Michael A. Nutter took office in 2008, he pledged to make sustainability a priority during his administration. To make good on his commitment, he created a Mayor’s Office of Sustainability…When Mayor Michael A. Nutter took office in 2008, he pledged to make sustainability a priority during his administration. To make good on his commitment, he created a Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (MOS), which in turn established Greenworks Philadelphia, a comprehensive sustainability plan laying out 15 goals to make Philadelphia the greenest city in America by 2015. Greenworks includes targets in the areas of energy, environment, equity, economy, and engagement. Having explicit, short-term goals and strong support from the Mayor has encouraged collaboration among myriad city agencies and external partners, some with long histories of promoting sustainability, and some new to greening.read more
Steven Azar , Brownfield Coordinator, City of Somerville, Massachusetts — City of Somerville, MA (8)
Reason:Steven is the most innovative agent for brownfield change in the Greater Boston Area. The private public partnerships he has developed have resulted in the most creative projects and approaches to brownfield…Steven is the most innovative agent for brownfield change in the Greater Boston Area. The private public partnerships he has developed have resulted in the most creative projects and approaches to brownfield land arising from a dense and compact industrial city with small irregular lots and interwoven with residential and transportation corridors. read more
Ed Johnson , Urban Development Manager, East Tampa — City of Tampa, Florida (15+ )
Reason:As Urban Development Manager for East Tampa for the past nine years, Ed Johnson has been the spark for the district’s successful economic vitality. He has a keen ability to leverage the…As Urban Development Manager for East Tampa for the past nine years, Ed Johnson has been the spark for the district’s successful economic vitality. He has a keen ability to leverage the power of brownfields grants and a nose for searching out and combining it with other funding opportunities. Johnson is extremely adept at rallying and shepherding an unprecedented level of community involvement, leadership and support. More importantly, he cultivates a synergy between community support and funding opportunities to effect undisputed benefits to the community in terms of a cleaner environment and enhanced aesthetics, improved infrastructure, higher employment, lower crime, better healthcare options, and an increased number of business establishments.
Typical to Johnson’s personality, he wants to help other communities too. He has presented at the local, regional, and state levels regarding the focus on healthcare and other health-related project types when looking at brownfield redevelopments, particularly in underserved neighborhoods. Johnson participated in the Florida Brownfield Association Environmental Justice Workshop and the EPA Region IV New Grantees Workshop, and he is slated to speak at the 2012 Summit on the Science of Eliminating Health Disparities in October for U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) organizations in Maryland.
“They seem to hit a home run every time,” Johnson replies modestly when asked the source of economic development ideas, referring to the individuals from the community who offer ideas through public information sessions. Johnson began working with the community immediately upon taking his position at East Tampa to develop a Community Redevelopment Action Plan. A strategic plan followed soon after.
Clearly, though, Johnson is a man that is creative and a forward thinker; who is always pushing the envelope to help his community. Through Johnson’s help, East Tampa has amassed a total of $1.2 million in EPA funding and $400,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) assessment grant fund. He is a leader in identifying and combining multi-funding sources. He also helped East Tampa become a model of a new national initiative, called Transforming Brownfields to Healthfields. The idea is to pool national and local funding to help clean up brownfield sites, but go further by developing the site for health care, health education, grocery stores and other fresh food options, recreation, and public safety.
For example, two federally qualified Tampa Family health centers were recently built in the city of Tampa, which has a large underserved population. The center on North 22nd street in East Tampa cost $3.4 million to build. Johnson led the city’s effort to purchase the three parcels, secure the brownfields assessment grant to address lead and asbestos in an old building on the site, search out indigent care funding through the county, and acquire physicians through HRSA. This facility employs 58 people and offers health, dental and pharmacy services to 37,000 people, mostly low-income residents.
The $6.7 million North Dale Mabry health center, located on a former car dealership, employs 67 medical and office staff. Relying on Johnson and others for information and support, U.S. Representative Kathy Castor was able to secure $2.9 million of ARRA grant money and a $400,000 EPA petroleum grant, in addition to more HRSA-supplied physicians.
Through Johnson’s efforts, EPA has selected the City of Tampa for a one of only ten brownfields multi-purpose pilot grants. Petroleum grant funds totaling $400,000 will be used to assess and clean up the Encore Retail Expansion site located at 1103 N. Nebraska Avenue. As a result of his signature community engagement workshop, Johnson developed a model scoping plan to monitor the health of the community and the health care efforts. This model helped secure EPA health monitoring funding. Johnson has been involved in the 28-acre Encore/Central Park Village Project that borders East Tampa. The project received $28 million in EPA, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2, and the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development funding involving 11 lots that will have a $450 million impact at build out. Brownfields funding was used to resolve a groundwater issue that allowed the expansion of this nationally recognized mixed-use development. Past uses of the adjacent site that will benefit from the most recent multi-purpose pilot grant include an automotive repair shop, fueling station, and junk yard storage facility. Assessment grant funds will be used to conduct and report on geophysical, soil, and groundwater investigations of the site. Cleanup grant funds will be used to prepare a cleanup plan, clean up source material at the site, and prepare engineering and institutional control documents. The site is slated to house a grocery-store-anchored neighborhood retail center, which will address food dessert issues facing the underserved populations in the heart of the city.
Again through Johnson’s leadership, East Tampa built the Robert L. Cole Community Lake and Park, utilizing $1 million Tax Increment Funding and a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant. The funds were used to develop stormwater overflow ponds over a brownfields landfill, and based on the community’s suggestion, the University of South Florida School of Architecture was approached to design recreation space in the area, which now includes walking trails, open space and exercise stations.
Furthermore, to address 48 brownfields properties around East Tampa, Johnson secured brownfields assessment grants to complete phase 1 and phase 2 assessments; then he received funding from HUD, as well as money from the state housing programs to work towards developing affordable, safe housing.
Finally, in addition to building a $9.2 million police station on a former landfill, the East Tampa district has enjoyed 8 years of double-digit (a total 62.8%) reductions in crime, a true testament to the area’s economic and community strength.
And Johnson’s commitment to the community doesn’t stop with endless hours on the job. He is a past chairman of the Board of Commissioners for the City of Tampa Housing Authority; an advisory board member of Community Housing Solutions, Inc., of St. Petersburg, Florida; a board member of the Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida; board member of Hillsborough Rural Community Development Corporation; a lifetime board member of the Florida Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials; member of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials; member of the National Organization of African-Americans in Housing; and member of the Air Force Sergeants Association. read more
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With nearly 30 years of professional consulting experience, Miles Bolton leads Apex in tackling some of the toughest brownfield redevelopment and engineering projects in the nation. Safety, innovation, efficiency and customer satisfaction are the words that describe Bolton’s project focus, and what drives Apex to provide clients with the highest quality services in the most cost-effective manner.
Michael Bloomberg’s exodus as New York mayor at the start of this year has caused several ripple effect. The Brownfield 2013 Person of the Year Daniel Walsh was hired and Bloomberg, and is waiting to see how matters shake out with new mayor Daniel De Blasio.