New life could be breathed into abandoned or blighted properties in your community thanks to an innovative partnership and public outreach effort. The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) has partnered with the University of Kentucky Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK) to conduct a concerted informational campaign around funding opportunities and help local communities redevelop brownfield sites.
Brownfields are abandoned, unused, or underused properties where redevelopment is hindered due to known or suspected contamination. Although often considered problem properties, brownfields can be redeveloped and turned into opportunities to clean up the environment, boost the local economy, and build a stronger community.
UK’s CEDIK has extensive experience working with groups to foster community and economic development and providing grant education. “This was the perfect marriage,” said Eric Eisiminger, EEC’s Brownfield Program coordinator. “Our knowledge of brownfield redevelopment and their expertise in economic development and grant education should prove to be a great team.”
The goal is to provide basic fundamentals of brownfield redevelopment and grant writing guidance in the hopes of encouraging local communities that have not historically taken advantage of the Brownfield Program. Guidance can be provided through the phase I and phase II site assessment process.
“Most downtown revitalization projects will typically include brownfield redevelopment of some sort,” Eisiminger said. “So this will be a win-win for both agencies.”
Shane Barton, downtown revitalization coordinator for CEDIK agreed, “We believe our downtown revitalization work in Kentucky communities will be much more effective because of this collaboration. Nearly every downtown has at least one building that is stuck in the redevelopment process and this partnership allows our organizations to bring the right resources to bear in underserved communities that have long requested this type of collaborative approach.”
CEDIK’s five-year, $257,000 per year contract is funded through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Scheduling of outreach events should begin in early spring and will be posted on both organization’s websites and social media outlets.