Cook County, IL
EPA Brownfields Initiative
EPA's Brownfields Program empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. A brownfield site is real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. On January 11, 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act. Under the Brownfields Law, EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through four competitive grant programs: assessment grants, revolving loan fund grants, cleanup grants, and job training grants. Additionally, funding support is provided to state and tribal response programs through a separate mechanism.
Date of Announcement: Apr 1997
Profile: The pilot site is a former crankshaft manufacturing facility occupying approximately 39 acres in the City of Harvey.
EPA has selected Cook County, in partnership with the City of Harvey, as a Brownfields Pilot. The concentration of former industrial facilities that are known or suspected to be contaminated, as well as the presence of landfills, have combined to create blighted areas in Harvey. These areas are characterized by deteriorating housing and infrastructure. In addition, a number of the properties are tax delinquent, resulting in declining tax revenues and increasing municipal tax rates to fund basic municipal services. The city is struggling to revitalize its industrial and commercial base, improve housing, and repair its aging infrastructure. Seeking an innovative way to combat these problems, the city joined four neighboring suburban Chicago communities (Dixmoor, Ford Heights, Phoenix, and Robbins) to form the South Suburban Enterprise Communities (SSEC), which is dedicated to the economic redevelopment of the area. The SSEC was designated a federal Enterprise Community in 1995.
The pilot site was selected by the SSEC. It is the former Wyman-Gordon manufacturing facility, a 39-acre parcel, in Harvey. The facility is one of many known or suspected brownfields identified during a survey conducted in 1991. Although developers have expressed some interest in brownfields, such as the Wyman-Gordon manufacturing facility, redevelopment within the SSEC has not occurred because of concerns about contamination, liability, and unknown remediation costs.
Cook County's goals are to expand its economic base, bring in new businesses, and create new jobs. Redeveloping brownfields is a critical step toward achieving these goals. The objectives of the pilot are to conduct a site assessment of the Wyman-Gordon manufacturing facility, involve the community and other stakeholders in redevelopment planning, and begin planning efforts to leverage funds for cleanup through partnerships with developers and investors.
Activities planned as part of this pilot include:
- Completing a site assessment of the pilot site;
- Implementing community outreach and education programs to involve the community and other stakeholders in redevelopment planning;
- Planning outreach activities for cleanup and redevelopment, including efforts to leverage redevelopment incentive programs (e.g., the Cook County No Cash Bid Program, the Tax Increment Financing District Program, and tax incentives offered through state and federal enterprise zone programs); and
- Working with community colleges and employment training organizations to link redevelopment of brownfields with job training and business opportunities.
The cooperative agreement for this Pilot has not yet been negotiated; therefore, activities described in this fact sheet are subject to change.
For further information, including specific grant contacts, additional grant information, brownfields news and events, and publications and links, visit the EPA Brownfields Web site (http://www.epa.gov/brownfields).
EPA Region 5 Brownfields Team
EPA Region 5 Brownfields Web site (http://www.epa.gov/R5Brownfields)
Grant Recipient: Cook County, IL
The information presented in this fact sheet comes from the grant proposal; EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of this information. The cooperative agreement for the grant has not yet been negotiated. Therefore, activities described in this fact sheet are subject to change.