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Distressed Properties Forum stresses redevelopment

The successful redevelopment of blighted properties such as the Central Industrial District, Riverfront Park and the DST Westside Business Park will be the focus of the regional Distressed Properties Forum on April 29. More than 130 people are set to attend the forum at the Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave., from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“Distressed properties," also known as “brownfields,” are vacant or under-used industrial/commercial sites where redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived contamination. These redevelopment projects typically remove blight, clean up environmental hazards, and create new investment and jobs, often in disadvantaged communities.

Among the high-profile development projects in the metro area that either have been or will be built on distressed sites include: new facilities in the Central Industrial District, Riverfront Park, the DST Westside Business Park, and the westside branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

Councilman Troy Nash, 3rd District-at-large, and Assistant City Manager Rich Noll will welcome the participants to the forum. Jason Robbins of Recycland in Bethesda, Md., and Mary Hashem of Brownfield Partners based in Golden, Colo., are scheduled to share their development experiences. An in-depth look at the DST Westside Business Park project, which earned the 2003 Phoenix Award for Region VII, also will be discussed. The project transformed an idle 20-acre railroad roundhouse and maintenance yard into a $40 million state-of-the-art printing and distribution facility.

The forum is sponsored by the National Association of Local Government Professionals, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the City of Kansas City, Mo.

For information about registration, call Andrew Bracker, brownfields coordinator in the City Planning and Development Department, (816) 513-3002.

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