FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 1, 2013
DEP'S SOUTH DISTRICT HOSTS FIRST FLORIDA BROWNFIELD SYMPOSIUM
~Event focused on providing practical advice for brownfield redevelopment~
More than 100 developers, investors, realtors and others attended the first Florida Brownfield Symposium and Workshop in Fort Myers.
FORT MYERS – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection partnered with the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council to host the first Florida Brownfield Symposium and Workshop today. This seminar aimed to inform the community of the economic, legal and practical aspects of brownfield redevelopment in Southwest Florida.
“Brownfield redevelopment represents environmental as well as economic benefits to all communities," said Jorge Caspary, DEP Division of Waste Management Director. "This redevelopment cleans up contamination, creates jobs and strengthens communities."
More than 100 developers, investors, realtors and other community members attended the free workshop Friday, which included presentations from local leaders with practical experience in cleaning up and redeveloping these brownfield sites. A brownfield site is a property where expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of environmental pollution. DEP Brownfields Liaison Kim Walker discussed the Department’s role in brownfield redevelopment and brownfield designation.
The Florida Brownfields Program facilitates redevelopment and job creation by empowering communities, local governments and other stakeholders to work together to assess, clean up and reuse sites that have been previously impacted by pollutants. The program focuses on contaminated site cleanup and economic redevelopment associated with brownfield sites. To make the program's incentives available to a community, a local government must designate a brownfields area by resolution. Local governments have designated 330 current brownfield areas statewide.
This program utilizes economic and regulatory incentives to encourage the use of private revenue to restore and redevelop sites, create new jobs and boost the local economy. Since its inception in 1997, the program has helped clean up 57 contaminated sites, confirmed and projected more than 40,000 direct and indirect jobs and made roughly $1.8 billion in capital investment for designated brownfield areas, according to data in the Florida Brownfields Redevelopment Program 2011-2012 Annual Report.
The Department is also responsible for awarding tax credits to encourage participants to conduct voluntary cleanup of brownfield sites. In 2012, the Department approved more than $5.1 million in Voluntary Cleanup Tax Credits for site rehabilitation work completed in designated brownfield areas in 2011