20th Year Anniversary

The Center for Creative Land Recycling turns 20 this year!




Launched in 1996 by the Trust for Public Land and the James Irvine Foundation as a land preservation strategy, the Center for Creative Land Recycling has made a lasting mark on communities around the country by advocating and driving for redevelopment of underutilized or contaminated properties. Over 7,200 people have participated in our workshops or benefited from our technical assistance around brownfield site assessment, grant review, cleanup and re-development. Bringing back acres of brownfields into productive use provides people access to homes, affordable housing, parks and recreational land, and places to shop and conduct business. These activities make our communities safer, cleaner and more resilient.


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Major Milestones


A Few of the Organizations CCLR has Worked With:


Events to Watch For

• Winter Event- San Francisco, November 2016




•"I congratulate the Center for Creative Land Recycling on 20 years of making a positive impact on our environment and our urban neighborhoods. As California State Treasurer, I had the opportunity to work closely with CCLR to create financing tools to help return brownfields sites to productive use and saw first-hand CCLR’s commitment to a sustainable future for our state. My best wishes to CCLR as it celebrates its 20th anniversary and continues its good and important work."  Phil Angelides, California State Treasurer, 1999-2007


• “CCLR was a great idea 20 years ago and an even better idea now as we think about how to reuse key industrial and contaminated parcels and put them to a higher and better use. Without CCLR, there would be a lot fewer reuse projects moving forward and a lot more time and money wasted trying to figure out how to do them. Thank you CCLR.” -- Reed Holderman, Past Executive Director of Sempervirens Fund and Regional Director at TPL at time CCLR was launched


• “CCLR was founded to fill the important need in for expertise, training and support for agencies and non-profits working to reclaim and recycle brownfields. Over time it became clear CCLR’s California mission was a national mission and that similar needs existed across the country. The Trust for Public Land is proud to have helped in the creation and incubation of such an effective organization!” -- Will Rogers, CEO, Trust for Public Land


• “20 years, wow! It has been 20 years since I threw my hat in the ring for the job of founding Executive Director of what was then the California Center for Land Recycling. CCLR was the brain child of the late Nick Bollman of the James Irvine Foundation, who arranged the initial funding for what he saw as the “anchor” organization for a group of Irvine grantees involved in issues around land use. His theory was brilliantly simple: if our communities incorporate more intelligent land use and better infrastructure planning, we will have more benefits with lower social costs. I was the only applicant with a real estate business background, Nick took an immediate liking to me (the feeling was mutual), and he offered me the job over the objection of a couple of his advisors. I had no idea of the magnitude of the task I was taking on, but with the help of a great initial support team including Renee Berger, Bret Moxley, Clay Carter, Jennifer Hernandez, Glenn Isaacson, Frank LaHaye, Will Rogers, Evan Henry, Diane Bone, Earl James, Mike Howe and many more (including invaluable mentoring from Nick) we managed to craft a mission and programs that launched CCLR on its journey to what it is today. To all those who helped make it happen, thank you! Nick would be very proud.” -- George Brewster, First Executive Director of Center for Creative Land Recycling


• “CCLR’s ability to deliver a broad scope of outreach strategies in Tennessee has been such a furtherance to our Brownfields education efforts. CCLR staff have a great capacity to listen and interpret what the particular needs are in each distinct region of our state, then work to meet those needs.” -- Paula Middlebrooks, Outreach & Grants Manager, Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation


• “I live and work in the Los Angeles Eco-Village in the north end of LA’s intensely urban Koreatown neighborhood. People often ask: why in the world would you try to do an ecological village in the middle of a toxic neighborhood in a toxic city? My response has always been that if we don’t reinvent how we live in our cities, there’s not much hope for suburban and rural areas that will continue to degrade at an unprecedented pace along with our cities. So living in a two block neighborhood with three auto repair shops that have been here for several decades, I knew we had to someday acquire those properties and clean them up. Attending the 2007 “Creating Vibrant Communities: Redeveloping California’s Brownfields” workshop was my way of preparing for that inevitability. Thank you so much CCLR for sharing with us all the extraordinary resources that may be available to us as we move along in making a healthier more resilient city, and most importantly, a sense of “we can do this!” -- Lois Arkin, Executive Director, CRSP Institute for Urban Ecovillages


• “CCLR plays a courageous leadership role in the Legislature, and with state and local agencies, to make sure that safe and effective Brownfields cleanup happen cost-effectively, and facilitate redevelopment of these blighted properties. CCLR was especially critical in requiring California to establish clear cleanup standards for Brownfields sites, which is the key to underwriting the agency grants and bank loans (and corresponding environmental insurance policies) that make financing cleanup and redevelopment possible. Without CCLR, the communities and community-based projects like parks and affordable housing that were most in need of financing solutions would have suffered from more polluted parcels for far longer than the communities that attracted investors who could self-finance extended bureaucratic battles. Between its successes on statewide policy and financing, and local project assistance, CCLR is a true warrior for environmental justice.” -- Jennifer Hernandez, Past Board Member of Center for Creative Land Recycling and current Partner at Holland & Knight


• CCLR has effectively spread the gospel of brownfield redevelopment by bringing information and expertise to communities and companies that can put the knowledge to good use. -- Earl James, Vice President, Erler & Kalinowski, Inc.


• “CCLR has a remarkable ability to evolve and stay continually relevant on the forefront of progressive Brownfield practices and policies. For two decades, CCLR has been elevating Brownfield awareness by presenting seminars – taught by notable practice leaders – to educate developers, regulators and cities in a collaborative atmosphere. On the state level, CCLR has played a critical role in obtaining infill development and infrastructure financing through a state proposition – and then shepherding the process to ensure the funds were distributed efficiently and effectively. For many project developers and cities, CCLR has become the best resource in locating pockets of federal and state grant monies to pay for cleanup so that warehoused properties could be developed into critically needed housing. More recently, CCLR has provided thought leadership in response to unreasonable anti-development litigation and to other practices hindering responsible development. Thankfully, this organization is here to stay. -- Deborah Schmall, Past Board Member of Center for Creative Land Recycling and current Partner at Paul Hastings



You are a community, foundation, developer, government agency or supporter who gets the power and importance of land recycling: we want to hear from you! Please send us a memory, a testimonial, a picture, or a letter from anytime over the past 20 years to help us celebrate our anniversary. We want to honor all of you for paving the way for CCLR to stand tall at 20 as a national champion for transforming communities through land recycling. Please contact Jean Hamerman, Director of Strategic Initiatives at jean.hamerman@cclr.org or 646-712-0535.


Help Us Make a Difference - Support CCLR Now