NEBC – Clear as Tacoma Glass
Tacoma is home of the Museum of Glass. Not your average transparent, sheet glass. Or pedestrian glass ornaments. But stunning, multicolored, intricate works of glass art lauded throughout the world. Brownfields funding and success stories in Washington state may be just as stunning and lucrative – if you can figure it out.
In two panels at the Northwest Remediation conference, CCLR and partners discussed the ways of using these partnerships to bring much needed assessment and cleanup funding that are available from the EPA Brownfields program and Washington Department of Ecology.
Elly Walkoviak of the City of Tacoma and Teri Stripes of the City of Spokane both showcased projects that would have not been possible without patience – another key glass art requirement – and partnerships. Using EB5 funding and a lot of elbow grease, Tacoma continues its renaissance from its industrial and transportation roots as demonstrated by the Marriot Hotel arising next to the convention center. Armed with public private partnerships and plans, Spokane continues its string of brownfield successes along its riverfront, including Kendall Yards and the University District.
Neither would be possible without funds – available only to Washington public agencies – to remove inherent brownfields redevelopment risks. Funding that Alan Bogner with WA Ecology, Tina Hochwender with WA Commerce and Margaret Olson with EPA explained. But the public funds are merely the seed that is dwarfed by private capital, as described by Eric Christensen with Cairncross & Hempelmann. The secret lies in navigating EPA and Ecology rules to utilize as much public funding for due diligence before handing off to a private party.
There is no one way however. But with all-hands-on-deck, CCLR developed a chart which provides a visual tool for the ground rules under which projects are eligible. This tool will help public agencies navigate the mosaic of funds and point out where transactions may be necessary to achieve maximum benefit.
It is still not as clear as sheet glass. But if one can wind through the different rules, more intricate objects of brownfields redevelopment are in store.
CCLR thanks the sponsors and the Northwest Environmental Business Council for putting this event together. The program and presentations can be found here – https://www.nwremediation.com/agenda/