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  • 28 Nov 2022 10:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Colleen Kokas

    Bucks County has long planned for a mix of industrial, residential and preserved open space and agricultural lands.  BCONE’s recent educational program on November 16, 2022, discussed the past 30 years of addressing brownfield sites in the county -- as told through the first-hand experiences of Bob White, the former Executive Director of the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority for 24 years.


    Woven throughout the many case studies of successfully transforming large and small industrial sites, Bob sent a clear message about how he achieved success. The first was to create a team of the various stakeholders involved, including local and state elected officials, the community and the regulatory agencies.  The second was to communicate often to ensure that information is shared fully and timely.  The third was to plan, plan, plan.  That equates to having many sites in the pipeline, as you never know when the opportunity may arise to advance one of those properties closer to a completed cleanup or to vertical development.  Bob shared a quote that reflects this appropriately, in that "if you fail to plan, you will have a plan that fails."  Bob’s full story is captured in his book, "Repurposing the Past: How a Farm Boy and Marine Helped Give Bucks County a 21st-Century Facelift."  

    Bob emphasized the importance of Pennsylvania’s Act 2 Program in contributing to the success of repurposing sites.  John Gross, PADEP Act 2 manager, spoke to the “mission creep” that is happening with the use of Act 2 within the agency.  There has been a trend in other programs within PADEP using Act 2 as an enforcement mechanic to obtain compliance -- a use never intended by the Act’s passage.  

    John alerted the group to PADEP’s recent receipt of a USEPA Brownfield Assessment Grant for which they are developing a strategy for deploying those funds.  PADEP’s initial thoughts are to provide monies to small towns that do not have the capacity to assess sites and to evaluate retired coal-fired power plants for future green energy-related projects.  

    The discussions were held at Aldie Mansion, a property owned and occupied by the Heritage Conservancy, a nonprofit agency with a mission that nicely complements the mission of addressing brownfields.  The Heritage Conservancy’s President and CEO, Bill Kunze, welcomed BCONE to the mansion, and outlined the agency’s work of preserving and protecting significant open spaces, natural resources, and our historic heritage.  In its 60+ years, the Heritage Conservancy has facilitated the protected over 15,000 acres of land to ensure our enjoyment to protect water quality and to ensure our future enjoyment of nature.  For more information on the Heritage Conservancy, or if you are interested in becoming a member, go to https://heritageconservancy.org/ or contact BCONE member and moderator of the event, Brian Clark (Brian.Clark@bipc.com), who serves on the Heritage Conservancy’s board.  

    Posted November 28, 2022

  • 17 Nov 2022 2:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Stephen Merrill Smith

    On the beautiful fall morning of October 19, 2022, representatives from BCONE and LSRPA met with representatives of The Nature Conservancy and Montclair State University at Great Falls Park in Paterson, NJ.  The group met to tour the Paterson sites and learn about TNC’s plans to cleanup and redevelop the Passaic River and its shoreline properties throughout the Great Falls area. 

    New Jersey Nature Conservancy Director Dr. Barbara Brummer greeted the group as it is gathered in front of the historic Great Falls where two billion gallons of water flow over 77 feet every day. Dr. Brummer introduced the attendees and turned the tour over to TNC’s Cities Program Director Katie-Rose Imbriano, and TNC’s Manager of Cities Projects Dr. Johnny Quispe.  Imbriano explained that Paterson is unique as the first industrially planned city in the United States. Alexander Hamilton and Pierre L’Enfant originated the idea of using three tiers of gravity directed water raceways from the falls for industrial power. A series of raceways funneled the water from the falls to power water mills and turbines at several factories in the area of the redevelopment plan.  The factories in this neighborhood produced the first submarine, the engine for Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, Samuel Colt’s gunsmithing operation, as well as a factory that produced more than 12,000 locomotives. 

    The Paterson project has a commitment to serving 100,000 people by completion of the key projects envisioned for the area. During the tour, we were able to see only a small portion of all the projects envisioned. To accomplish such an ambitious goal, TNC has  partnered with Montclair State University. One project we toured was the cleanup and redevelopment of the ATP site.  Quispe and Imbriano emphasized that it is critical for the project to ensure planning for equitable conservation in the largely disenfranchised neighborhoods near the Passaic in Paterson.  Nearby residents of the community have less economic opportunity and lower metrics in terms of poverty and public health. So the project aims to make sure that the disenfranchised have the input into plans and ultimately the ability to connect to the Passaic that they are currently disconnected from, aside from occasionally being severely impacted by flooding (recently by hurricane Irene). With regard to the flooding, the state has bought out some of those properties, but there is a lot of work remaining. One site next to the river, where the project intends to build a Green Innovation Center, will serve as an expression of the history of waterpower and industry because the three-tiered raceway power system is arguably the most significant industrial archaeological site in the United States, if not the world, especially considering that the provenance of Hamilton is what drove it forward.  Because it represents such a unique interaction between the environmental and the historical opportunities, TNC and Montclair State want to make the Green Innovation Center into a world class historical renovation and educational example of the raceways, demonstrating the rushing water and how it served as renewable power in the 19th century. Moreover, the project envisions improved access to the riverfront, examples of green urban runoff buffer zones next to rivers, as well as an extension of the river walk. Quispe noted that just north of where we were standing the construction we could hear was where the river walk work had recently broken ground; the design is to stretch out the river walk and have it connect the Northside communities of Paterson. 

    Additionally, Quispe held up a picture of a green street landscape already built. Quispe emphasized that this was only a subset of a larger idea to construct green streets throughout Paterson. Quispe mentioned the Green Team (which included a local group of Paterson Flood Fighters, Christian Brothers Group, and a water resources group from Rutgers University) that had worked on the Green Street demonstration project starting with St Luke’s Church on the corner and extending to a local school. He re-emphasized that the team was hoping to use this beautiful new green street as a showcase so that local people can see how to change a typical streetscape into green spaces with multi-modal transportation and utility upgrades. 

    Along the tour we passed through the Tower Arts District where there is a lot of renovation for artist housing. Resident artists in Patterson have made this a center of revival for the arts in the city. Following the upbeat renovation and construction of the Arts District was one of the largest challenges that remains for the project; the junkyards directly next to the river where a green buffer zone will someday be.

    One of the big challenges that remain is working to acquire an area known as “mechanics row,” which is mainly junkyards that have blocked off access to the Passaic River in this disinvested community and contaminated land and water flowing into the Passaic River. BCONE and LSRPA could help TNC and Montclair with this challenge, as well as with other aspects of the green streets included in the project vision.

    At several points during the tour, especially during the presentation by Montclair State University President Jonathan Koppell, it became clear that the TNC and Montclair State are working with the state, the National Park Service, and Habitat for Humanity, and looking to bring in more partners. There is a genuine desire to involve the community in envisioning the great possibilities for Paterson and the Passaic River. This is another area where BCONE and LSRPA could help – to become partners in the project to help with community involvement. TNC/Montclair emphasized that they seek to solicit engaged community input so that the project ideas presented during the tour represent a cumulative vision of the community that serves the entire community.

    A highlight of the tour; Barbara treated us all to an exotic lunch at a Venezuelan restaurant in Paterson. 

    In attendance was Kenya Travitt, TNC Trustee; Jim Wright, Conservancy Council; Barbara Brummer, Conservancy Director; Amy Greene, Conservancy Council Co-Chair; Jim Shissias, Conservancy Council; Lisa Welch, TNC-NJ Board Chair; Anne H. Jacobsen, Board Vice Chair/Conservancy Council Co-Chair; Arnold P. (Arnie) Pelnado, Trustee, Candace Baker, LSRPA, Eric Olsen, Director of Conservation Programs; Katie-Rose Imbriano, Director of Cities Programs, Dr. Johnny Quispe, Manager of Cities Projects; Stephen Merrill-Smith, BCONE; Michael Salerno, LSRPA; Carrie VanDusen, Director of Philanthropy  


    Editor's Note: BCONE is in the room where it happens!  If you get the “Hamilton” reference, read the article.  If you attended the Annual Membership Meeting on November 15, 2022, you heard about BCONE’s collaboration with other like-minded organizations.  Here is an article about ways BCONE can assist The Nature Conservancy  with a wonderful greening and redevelopment  project in Paterson NJ. BCONE representative, Stephen Merrill Smith, Esq., attended and authored this extensive article for you. Recommendations for BCONE’s assistance: with an area known as “mechanics row,” which is mainly junkyards that have blocked off access to the Passaic River and with  other aspects of the green streets included in the project vision.  BCONE can also become a  partner involved with enhancing  community involvement in envisioning the great possibilities for Paterson and the Passaic River. 

    Posted November 17, 2022

  • 27 Oct 2022 9:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We had a nice turnout for our networking event at the Seven Tribesmen Brewery in Wayne, NJ on October 19th. Plenty of time to meet and speak with all the attendees while trying out some high-quality, hand-crafted beers and snacking on amazing appetizers.

    The discussion on ecological site assessments and the importance of improving the biodiversity of habitats by using native plant species was very informative. The wildlife photos shared during the presentation highlighted the beauty of nature and all the flora and fauna around us.

     

     

    Thank you to our Event Sponsor GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc. We couldn’t hold these events without generous volunteers like Kristen English, who organized the event, and our speakers Blaine Rothausen and Nicolette Albanese.

    Look for more networking and educational events on BCONE’s website, in eblasts and on social media.

    Thank you to our Double Platinum Sponsors for their support throughout the year.


    Posted October 27, 2022

  • 21 Oct 2022 11:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jamie Snook, member of BCONE’s Education & Scholarship Committee as a non-voting Board member, was published in Watershed Ecology and the Environment in mid-October, 2022..  Jamie’s  article focuses on an ecological risk assessment of the Otter Creek Basin watershed ecosystem restoration project in central Vermont.  The link is below. Congratulations to Jamie!

    Published article link:

    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wsee.2022.09.001

    and 

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2589471422000067

    Posted October 21, 2022

  • 20 Oct 2022 4:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BCONE held a “Tour and Pour” event on October 11, 2022, at the Camden, New Jersey waterfront with a fun group of 30 participants. The tour began at the Hilton Garden Inn Camden Waterfront Philadelphia. It was a former industrial area operated by Campbell Soup Company and the RCA Victor Company from the late 1800s until the late 1980s/early 1990s. The area was redeveloped into a 20-acre mixed-use complex by Liberty Property Trust between 2015 and 2020.

    The evening featured three stops to encourage conversations about brownfields remediation. During the tour, Marc Chartier of Pennoni described the industrial history of the project area and historical and current remedial actions associated with the remediation of 12 individual parcels within the development area. 

    Additionally, the tour highlighted the site’s current structures, which were constructed between 2017 and 2020, and are occupied by American Water, Hilton, NFI, Connor Strong and Buckelew, and the Michael’s Organization.

    The event concluded with plenty of time for networking, drinks, and appetizers while overlooking the waterfront area. Keep your eyes open for additional networking and educational programs from BCONE.

       

        

        

    Thank You to Our Speakers

    • Marc Chartier, Due Dilgence and Remediation Group Leader, PG, LSRP at Pennoni
    • Tim Mangold, Senior Project Manager, LSRP at Pennoni and Chair of BCONE’s Membership Committee

    Thank You to Our Event Sponsor

    Thank You to Our Silver Sponsor


    Annual Double Platinum Sponsors


    Posted October 20, 2022

  • 29 Sep 2022 11:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer 

    Hoping to infuse a new level of perspective, ideas and vision into the BCONE organization, four new non-voting members were introduced during a summer board meeting.

    Michael Deely, Manager of the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF) program and the Petroleum UST Fund program at New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), was announced as non-voting member within the Regulatory committee. Joining Deely is Karen A. Cahill, Environmental Engineer with NYSDEC’s Division of Environmental Remediation in the Department’s Region 7 office in Syracuse, N.Y.  

    Meantime, Maria Coler and Dr. Nefeli Bompoti were appointed as non-voting members on the Education and Scholarship Committee, which Coler chairs.  

    Coler is an LSRP, an alumna of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, and founder of HCI, a 100% women-owned environmental consulting firm specializing in the remediation of brownfield sites in urban centers. Coler founded BCONE’s Brownfields, Books, and Brew club while serving as the chair of the BCONE Scholarship committee, which is now the Education and Scholarship Committee.

    Bompoti, Ph.D., is assistant research professor, CT Brownfields Initiative, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UCONN, who oversees the program along with fellow professor Marisa Chrysochoou, Ph.D., director, Connecticut Brownfields Initiative, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

    It has been under Bompoti’s instruction that has led to the selection of annual recipients at UCONN for the Charlie Bartsch Brownfield Scholarship program. 

    Regulatory Member Profiles 


    Deely had previously spent 18 years at NJDEP overseeing the HDSRF program and redevelopment projects in the Office of Brownfield and Community Revitalization. 

    Cahill has been with the NYSDEC’s Division of Environmental Remediation since 2004, primarily responsible for managing investigation and remediation of contaminated sites under the NYS Brownfield Cleanup and State Superfund Programs. She also has expertise in petroleum spill response, field analytical procedures, and soil vapor intrusion.

    Comments Deely: “I have been a BCONE member for years but not a truly active member. I have tried to stay connected on what is going on in BCONE, attend sustainability  workshops, and more.”

    NJEDA is tasked with growing the state’s economy and increases equitable access to opportunity by supporting high-quality job creation, catalyzing investment, and fostering vibrant, inclusive community development.  

    NJEDA works in partnership with a diverse range of stakeholders to implement programs and initiatives that improve quality of life, enhance economic vitality and strengthen the state’s long-term economic competitiveness.

    It operates within a vision to make New Jersey a national model for sustainable and equitable economic growth by investing in communities, fostering innovation, and supporting industries with high quality-jobs in the state.

    Deely, who boasts a technical background and degree from Purdue University, had worked in the private sector for several years, performing brownfield work. In the public sector, he managed the state grant program around assessment, investigation and cleanup efforts. 

    Deely has worked with many private companies in New Jersey around cultivating the gold standard in brownfield development. One goal of his within the department is right-sizing the allocation of funds so money allocated fits what recipients require to move the needle forward. He also is eager to make sure that funds don’t go unused. 

    He cited a major success story this year in Camden, N.J. regarding the Cramer Hill Waterfront Park project, which was awarded the 2022 US EPA Region 2 Phoenix Award. The project has transformed the 86-acre Harrison Avenue landfill, one of the most high-profile brownfields sites in Camden, into a waterfront park and community center. One feature: more than 375,000 plants, shrubs and trees were installed throughout the park.

    NJEDA, in partnership with the NJDEP, provided more than $26 million HDSRF to the Cramer Hill Waterfront Brownfield Development Area.

    As Deely looks ahead to his BCONE service obligation this year and into next, he’s eager to be “in an information-gathering process with a lot of idea exchange.” 

    Cahill joined BCONE in late August as a regulatory board member. “A colleague emailed me in July asking me if I would be interested in joining the board. Prior to that, I was not familiar with BCONE,” she says. 

    Taking into account her accomplished career as an environmental engineer with NYS DEC, Cahill spoke about how she envisions using this experience to effect positive impacts for the BCONE Regulatory committee this year and into ’23—all to move the needle on brownfield execution.

    “I am hopeful that I can bring a fresh perspective from the technical side of these projects, including emerging contaminant investigation, soil vapor intrusion and PCB investigation/cleanup,” she says. “A wish list to effect change would be more streamlined approach to satisfy TSCA requirements (EPA R2) and investigation/cleanup of PCB impacted sites.”

    Looking at her achievements in New York state over the past year in regards to environmental remediation execution—ones that enable her to bring a unique vision to the committee—Cahill says she’s still waiting to determine the specifics around that. “The NYSDEC Division of Environmental Remediation conference is being held in Lake George [Nov. 8-10], so I’ll have more of a specific plan at that time.” 

    After speaking to Deely, Cahill says that “working specifically with Mike can create a synergy between his current economic redevelopment experience [he is also experienced within the environmental sector] and my environmental experience.” Deely and Cahill join environmental regulators and economic development specialists from CT, DE, MA, MD and PA on the BCONE Regulatory Committee. Other state-specific brownfield associations praise BCONE’s regional dialogue among regulators from multiple states.  The exchange of program and policy ideas across state lines has always been one of the hallmarks of BCONE.

    “Overcoming stumbling blocks to progress on these sites, including financial assurance, community acceptance, eligibility, remedy implementation concurrent with development and attracting developers to take on investigation/remediation of these sites,” are the end goals that Cahill lists on her front burner.  

    Editor’s note: Stay tuned for Part II in the series when we speak to both Maria Coler and Nefeli Bompoti.

    Posted September 29, 2022

  • 29 Sep 2022 10:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BCONE Board members Lori Spagnolo from DNREC and Gregg Crystall from BrightFields, Inc. welcomed BCONE friends and colleagues to Bank’s Seafood Kitchen at the Riverfront Marketplace (a former Brownfield site) in Wilmington, Delaware.  We had about 20 people in attendance at our almost 3-hour long event.  It was great fun, great getting to meet new people and great connecting with people we haven’t seen for a while.  We are already contemplating the next exciting BCONE Brownfields Drinks event in Delaware. 

         

    For those of you who are unaware of the BCONE Brownfields Drinks events, they are designed to allow attendees to re-connect with old friends and network with others in brownfield and related industries. We are holding these multiple location, happy hour events across the Northeast!

    These events are FREE and open to members, non-members, co-workers, friends, regulators, academia, and other non-profit organizations interested in meeting others involved in brownfields and related industries. Bookmark our event calendar and be on the lookout for a future event in your area. Want to host one in your area? Contact us at brownfieldcoalitionne@gmail.com with your interest.

    Posted September 29, 2022

  • 26 Sep 2022 1:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    NSCW Panel, “Brownfields Redevelopment: A State-by-State Journey” Compares and Contrasts 3 States’ Remediation Processes

    Attendees at the Northeast Sustainable Communities Workshop took a redevelopment journey through the regulatory processes in three different states. “Brownfields Redevelopment: A State-by-State Journey” was moderated by Dr. Colette Santasieri (Executive Director, NJIT TAB Program) and featured speakers John Gross (Environmental Group Manager, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection), Lori Spagnolo (Brownfield Coordinator, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control) and Mark Lewis (Brownfields Coordinator, Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection). While the intent of remediating contamination and returning brownfields to productive reuse is a common goal in every state, the steps, time frames, and benchmarks can vary greatly by state. This session demonstrated those variations by taking a fictional closed gas station and auto repair facility through the state regulatory processes in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut. 

    Editor’s Note:  BCONE’s Regulatory Committee is comprised of members from the environmental departments and economic development agencies of CT, DE, MA, MD, NJ, NY, and PA.  They meet monthly to compare and contrast laws, rules, processes, programs, and emerging ideas.  BCONE is the only brownfield organization with this regional focus and idea sharing across state lines.  BCONE members reap the benefits of this committee through educational panels, white papers, committee reports, etc.  Hear from this important committee  at BCONE’s Virtual Annual Membership Meeting being held on November 15 at 3:30-5:00 pm.  You can register here.

    Posted September 26, 2022

  • 19 Sep 2022 10:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Cramer Hill Waterfront Park project in Camden won the 2022 USEPA Region 2 Phoenix Award.  The project has transformed the 86-acre Harrison Avenue Landfill, one of the most high-profile Brownfields sites in Camden, into a waterfront park and a community center.

    The main components of the project focused on shoreline protection, landfill closure, and natural resource restoration. The landfill operated from 1952 to 1971, but it was never capped or officially closed, prompting illegal dumping over decades.  The landfill closure included excavating and redistributing about 375,000 cubic yards of solid waste and soil into the center of the landfill, installing a passive gas venting system, and constructing a two-foot-thick semi-permeable cap of clean fill material. In addition, more than 375,000 plants, shrubs, and trees were installed throughout the park.

    The New Jersey Economic Development Authority, in partnership with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, is proud to have provided over $26 million in Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Funding (HDSRF)to the Cramer Hill Waterfront Brownfield Development Area. This area includes both The Salvation Army Kroc Center, a community center that opened in 2014, and the Cramer Hill Waterfront Park, which opened last year.  The Salvation Army Kroc Center project was awarded the USEPA Region 2 Phoenix Award in 2015.

    The transformation from landfill to park not only restored and enhanced the environment, but also restored the communities’ direct access to the waterfront, which has been non-existent for almost seven decades.  This project is great example of how of brownfields revitalization, environmental justice, and climate resilience can work together to improve communities. Olivette Simpson, Interim Executive Director, accepted the award on behalf of the Camden Redevelopment Agency.

    Posted September 19, 2022

  • 19 Sep 2022 9:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BCONE Board Member, Linda Shaw, Esq. of Knauf Shaw shared this...  

    I attended the "Revitalizing the Community" mobile workshop in the East Side African American neighborhood of Oklahoma City, and heard the most interesting anti-gentrification business model for a project spearheaded by a development firm called Pivot.  

    The project rehabilitated several auto repair facilities and a gas station into a grocery store and other small retail units (pizza shop, cannabis store, yoga studio, and some small offices).  Instead of using a traditional broker, Pivot offered brokerage fees to members in the community who assisted the developers in finding African American entrepreneur tenants.  

    Pivot was then able to fill up the entire project with 100% minority-owned entrepreneurs. After a year of successful rental history, Pivot provided the minority business owners 15% ownership in their respective rental unit.  The grocery store that was part of this project in the former gas station space was being run by a not-for-profit that partnered with a large grocery store and some local farms to provide fresh food.  It was a very interesting successful project and a new urban hotel across the street is their next planned project!         

    Posted September 19, 2022

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