SSMMA works with local communities to identify, assess, and remediate abandoned or under-utilized industrial and commercial properties where redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived contamination.
BROWNFIELD ASSESSMENT AND REMEDIATION
Brownfields are defined as abandoned or under-used industrial and commercial properties where redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived contamination. Since 2000 SSMMA has been administering projects to address this issue for eight-member communities — Burnham, Chicago Heights, Lansing, Markham, Posen, Riverdale, Robbins, and South Chicago Heights. All are working together to identify and assess brownfield sites within their borders.
In July 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed SB 20 into law, creating the Brownfield Remediation and Intermodal Promotion Act (BRIMPA). The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association collaborated with CNT and Representative William Davis (D-Hazel Crest), who sponsored the original House version of the bill.
BRIMPA leverages unique South Suburban assets, such as the existing intermodal freight terminals owned by the Canadian National and Union Pacific railroads and their access to rail and interstate highway networks. The bill facilitates the remediation and productive reuse of brownfields in industrial-zoned sites adjacent to Canadian National (CN) and Union Pacific (UP) intermodal freight yards in suburban Cook County. The act’s three stated purposes include:
• Redevelopment to maximize protection and improvement of the natural environment.
• Restoration of industrially zoned land to its best and highest use, defined in the bill as logistics or manufacturing operations.
• Employment of local low- and moderate-income residents.
In early 2014, the South Suburban Brownfield Redevelopment and Intermodal Promotion Act Advisory Council was formed to guide the development.
BRIMPA includes 12 towns: Posen, Dixmoor, Riverdale, Dolton, Markham, Harvey, Phoenix, South Holland, Hazel Crest, East Hazel Crest, Thornton, and Homewood. BRIMPA creates a funding mechanism to reimburse investments and create jobs for minority workers. The legislation calls for a “managing partner” who manages developers and reports to DCEO, and the Council.
The bill created a Brownfields Redevelopment Zone to be funded with incremental individual income tax generated from employees in the zone. The amount of increment allocated to the Zone would be limited to $3 million annually. Without this diversion in place for brownfield redevelopment, the individual income tax revenues would normally go to state education, general revenues, and local governments. However, to the extent that a Zone could catalyze other economic activity, local governments within a Zone may receive more property tax, sales tax, or utility tax revenue than they otherwise would have received without the diversion.
Brownfield Redevelopment Zone funds can be used for site assessments and plans; remediation of brownfield sites; land acquisition and site assembly; demolition; and recruiting and training of minority residents within the Zone for logistics, warehouse distribution and light manufacturing employment. The bill limits expenditures for recruiting and training activities to 20 percent of the dollars available in the South Suburban Increment Fund, or no more than 15 percent in one year.