The benefits of redeveloping brownfields
Redeveloping brownfields improves public health by cleaning up contamination, turns former blight into new opportunity, saves undisturbed land from development, and more. Get inspired by browsing our brownfield success stories below!
Riverfront Park's redevelopment transformed parking lots and old buildings into a renewed community space, leveraging its setting on Spokane Falls. The City used $600,000 in EPA grants and technical assistance from our staff to clean up contaminated soil from past railway and industrial uses. Read the full story.
The City of Olympia and the Low Income Housing Institute partnered to create the Billy Frank Jr. Place. The affordable housing provides apartment homes for homeless veterans, disabled individuals, and homeless youth. Another benefit was revitalizing an undeveloped and under-used brownfield in downtown Olympia. Read the full story.
We are cleaning up Custom Plywood Mill, a waterfront mill and box factory in Anacortes, under our Puget Sound Initiative. Since 2011, we removed contaminated soil and sediment and restored wetlands. In 2021, we started dredging contaminated sediment and replacing it with clean sand and eelgrass. Watch the video.
Formerly a railyard, Kendall Yards is now a vibrant addition to Spokane, with small businesses, restaurants, public art, and housing, all in a walkable setting with spectacular views of the Spokane River below. Read the full story.
With help from an Ecology Integrated Planning Grant, the City of Wenatchee redeveloped the Worthen Street landfill into Pybus Public Market. Located on the Columbia River waterfront, the former landfill was an ideal place to fulfill the community's vision of building a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. Watch the video.
We are working with the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority to clean up the Weyerhaeuser Sawmill Aberdeen site to create a local and regional recreation and tourism destination and a homeport for the Lady Washington tall ship. Read the full story.
We accepted the first applications for our Affordable Housing Cleanup Grant Program in spring 2022, with successful applicants receiving funding in the second half of 2023. The program provides funding to offset cleanup costs and reduce financial risks for any developers who build affordable housing. Read the full story.
The Palouse Producers site had been abandoned for years. Former Mayor Michael Echanove explains how the town turned the site around, and Sarah Sieloff shares how cleanup led to a new brewery and veterinary office. Watch the 2019 video and read the 2023 PM magazine article.
When Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue needed a new home for their District Headquarters, they used an Integrated Planning Grant from Ecology and a local bond to clean up petroleum contamination at the Mackner Transport property and build a state-of-the-art facility in an ideal location to serve Ellensburg. Read the full story.
By leveraging government, tribal, and community partnerships and federal and state grants, the Northern State Multi Service Center cleanup site is transforming into the Sedro-Woolley Innovation for Tomorrow Center, a mixed-use campus focused on technology and innovation. Read the full story.
Why redevelop brownfields?
When communities clean up and redevelop brownfields properties, they can:
- Stimulate a community's economy, create more jobs, and increase local tax base.
- Provide healthy sites for community priorities such as affordable housing.
- Turn their community's perceived problem into an asset and improve their image.
- Enable efficient land use and minimize the construction of new service infrastructure.
- Facilitate the resolution of environmental justice issues.
- Protect human and environmental health, and mitigate public health and safety concerns.
- Provide opportunities for habitat restoration, parks, or other public spaces.