Easton, PA in the Lehigh Valley. Photo by Lehigh Valley, PA via Flickr.
A 2011 Regional Planning Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is helping Lehigh Valley, PA plan for a vibrant future.
Located conveniently between the Philadelphia and New York City metropolitan areas, the Lehigh Valley is currently home to approximately 650,000 people. The region’s population is projected to grow over the next 20 years by as much as 145,000 people, and the region wants to make sure it’s prepared for the demands such growth will bring.
Envision Lehigh Valley is doing just that. The three-year effort promoting a vibrant future for the region was made possible by a 2011 Regional Planning Grant from HUD. The project officially launched in July 2012 with a broad consortium of partners and five focus areas: affordable housing, regional economic development, access to fresh food, transportation, and climate and energy efficiency. The five focus areas will help inform a new comprehensive plan for the region.
Commissioners at the Port of Corpus Christi in Texas have approved a grant agreement to expand rail service at the port with a new rail yard. The project is made possible in part by a $10 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, awarded to Corpus Christi in June, 2012. The TIGER grant program is part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) commitment to fund projects that have significant impacts nationally and locally.
The grant will fund Phase I construction of the Nueces River Rail Yard, which will have capacity for 335 rail cars. The expanded capacity will help the port meet its new shipping demands from recent growth in project cargo shipping for major wind power components. The project is projected to “reduce carbon emissions by about 398,000 tons and save $7.4 million in highway maintenance costs by eliminating 678,000 truck trips during the next 30 years, according to a transportation department fact sheet.”
Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Kevin Labianco via Flickr.
The Baltimore metropolitan area is planning for the region’s future development thanks to a Regional Planning Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.
The Opportunity Collaborative for a Greater Baltimore Region spans a diverse landscape ranging from the dense urban streets of Baltimore to the rural, pastoral landscapes of Northeastern Maryland. The project encompasses Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Carroll County, Harford County and Anne Arundel County – an area home to more than 2.5 million people.
Image: Matthew Millman
Tassafaronga Village has brought affordable and accessible housing to east Oakland, California, and created bright public space and environmentally innovative design on land that was once contaminated.
In 1945 the U.S. government developed the land and built temporary housing for wartime workers in Oakland’s shipyards. In 1964, the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) acquired the property and replaced the original structures with 87 public housing units: grim low-rise concrete buildings in a barren hardscape.
Image courtesy Groundwork Providence
In Providence, Rhode Island, on the site of a former factory, an urban nursery is helping make the whole city more green.
Hope Tree Nursery is the first financially self-sustaining nursery constructed on a brownfield in the United States. The site was once home the Rau Fastener Company on Sprague Street, southwest of Downtown Providence.Years of producing metal fasteners left the site contaminated with heavy metals and today, Sprague Street is part of an economically distressed community lacking green space. Known as a “legacy city,” the area is characterized by the vestiges of a past, productive era.
A local Binghamton resident’s idea for community improvement. Photo courtesty Blueprint Binghamton
Over the past 60 years, the city of Binghamton, New York gradually lost residents due to a shrinking industrial economy, eventually falling to about half its population from 1950. Unemployment rates above the national average and education and income levels below national averages present Binghamton with many challenges. However, a comprehensive plan for the region, supported by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is an opportunity to build upon Binghamton’s valuable community assets and existing infrastructure.
The Mayo Hotel. Via.
Once the jewel of the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Mayo Hotel fell into neglect and disrepair in the late 20th century. With the help of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfield program, the Mayo Hotel has now reclaimed its title as the “Grand Lady of Tulsa.”
In 1925, John and Cass Mayo completed construction of what would become a destination for many notable guests throughout the hotel’s first life, including President John F. Kennedy, Babe Ruth and Elvis Presley. The 18-story, 600 room hotel exemplified modern luxury during Oklahoma’s oil renaissance; ceiling fans were outfitted in every room and the hotel boasted Tulsa’s first running ice water.
Rendering of Ft. Lauderdale’s Wave Project. Photo via Broward County.
Broward County, FL passed two items this week to increase the quality and use of the City of Ft. Lauderdale’s infrastructure. The programs will provide more transit options for residents while promoting water management strategies through the city’s infrastructure.
Railyard Park in Santa Fe, a former brownfield site. Image by Sacker Foto via Flickr.
“In New Mexico, we have a great history of turning brownfields around, like the Santa Fe Railyard.”
- Senator Tom Udall, NM
The Santa Fe Railyard in Santa Fe, NM has played an important role in the city’s history. With the help of the EPA’s brownfield program, the Railyard will be part of life in Santa Fe for years to come.
Built in 1880, the railroad connected New Mexico’s rugged desertscapes to the country’s westward expansion. The Railyard, a 50-acre depot located in the southwest corner of today’s downtown, became a hub of activity and a cultural center. But as interstate highway and air travel became popular, the once-proud Railyard began to fall into obsolescence and disrepair. By 1987, the Railyard was a blighted site in need of redevelopment, and contaminated from years of industrial use.
The Linen Building in Boise, ID. Photo by David Hale.
Later this month, the Treefort Music Festival will showcase hundreds of musicians in Boise, ID, and one of the festival’s central venues is a building that not long ago was a contaminated brownfield.
The Linen Building in downtown Boise was a vacant and blighted former laundry facility less than a decade ago, and posed a potential threat to the surrounding area due to environmental contamination. The building was a “brownfield”—a site formerly home to a factory, gas station or other industrial facility left polluted and hazardous, and requiring environmental remediation to be used again.