Tag: From Vacancy to Vibrancy

Smart Growth America’s Top 12 of 2012: Creating new reports and resources

Christopher Leinberger, President of LOCUS, presenting new research at George Washington University.

We’re doing a special blog series highlighting some of Smart Growth America’s favorite accomplishments from 2012. This is the third of twelve installments.

In the past year, Smart Growth America has conducted new research and created new resources for our allies in the field.

In March, we released From Vacancy to Vibrancy, a guide to redeveloping underground storage tank sites through area-wide planning. The guide provides an overview of the tools and strategies available to leaders who want to transform vacant properties with hazardous underground storage tanks into economic and community assets, setting the stage for redevelopment and revitalization of brownfields. This guide is a valuable tool for any town or city that is looking to redevelop their vacant brownfields and help their economies and communities thrive.

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Senator Schumer calls on Congress to extend tax credits for brownfield redevelopment


Senator Charles Schumer has called on Congress to extend the EPA’s Brownfields Tax Credit. Image via Flickr user ProPublica.

Just last week, the New York Times chronicled the difficulties of creating new development on former gas station sites. Now, New York Senator Charles Schumer is asking Congress to support property owners, municipalities and developers who want to clean up these difficult pieces of land and get them back into productive use.

“Scores of gas stations sit vacant and abandoned across upstate New York, acting as detriments to downtown development and potentially serious hazards to human environmental health,” Schumer was quoted by the Buffalo News. “Gas stations can look like small fixer-uppers above ground, but may have lots of problems beneath.”

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The difficult business of building on old gas stations

Across the country abandoned gas stations represent one of the trickiest problems facing small towns and big cities alike. In particular, old gas stations pose a threat to the land when their underground storage tanks begin to deteriorate, potentially leaking petroleum into the groundwater.

A recent New York Times article covered the ways in which the hamlet of High Falls, NY has sought to address the negative community impact of its abandoned gas stations. Investors have begun to clean up and redevelop these lots, and their efforts have turned unattractive, contaminated brownfields into office space, restaurants and small shops. These innovative projects are creating new ways to bring money into the local economy and are helping revitalize the community.

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March news from the National Brownfields Coalition

New guide for local leaders helps overcome barriers to address nation’s blighted properties

A new guide for town, city and county leaders outlines how to build the financial and political support needed to reclaim and redevelop the thousands of abandoned gas stations, auto body shops, and industrial facilities nationwide.

From Vacancy to Vibrancy focuses on underground storage tank (UST) sites – properties with buried or partially buried tanks that have been used to store petroleum or other hazardous substances. When gas stations, auto body shops, industrial facilities or other types of development close down, these tanks are often left behind. As they age, the tanks are prone to leakage and can contaminate both soil and groundwater, posing a serious environmental threat. The new guide takes aim at one of the primary reasons these types of properties remain vacant for so long: many officials just don’t know what to do with them.

The new resource provides an overview of the tools and strategies available to leaders who want to transform UST sites into economic and community assets.

The guide also includes information about state and federal brownfield program requirements, brownfield redevelopment financing strategies, and multi-site planning techniques. An annotated list of resources is included at the end for further exploration.

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