Brownfields are former industrial or commercial properties that are idle or underused due to real or perceived environmental contamination. Brownfields should not be confused with the highly toxic Superfund sites, which are identified by EPA and will be taken care of by responsible parties. The fear of contamination can scare businesses away and there is a perception that brownfield sites can be more complicated than "greenfields" in the sprawling suburbs. Proposals to redevelop these "brownfield" sites often stall on the desks of wary lenders.
Some of Kansas City's best industrial properties are idle or underused. Located close to downtown, these sites feature full access to utilities and infrastructure. Hundreds of cities across the country are working to reclaim their urban centers and brownfields as a key part of their revitalization. Reuse of these sites could generate hundreds of new jobs and millions in tax revenue. Gateway Computers, located in the West Bottoms, is an excellent example of potential that was realized in a Kansas City’s brownfield site.
Kansas City Brownfield Initiative (KCBI)
The Kansas City Brownfield Initiative (KCBI) administers the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
grant that is the first of its kind in Kansas City. The pilot is sponsored by a diverse group that includes representatives of Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, local governments, the EPA, local business and industry associations, community groups and non-profit community and environmental organizations.
Objectives of KCBI
- Facilitate at least one successful brownfield redevelopment on each side of the state line to serve as an example and spur further efforts and investment
- Build a permanent brownfield redevelopment program in the greater Kansas City area.
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