Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Redeveloping Brownfields: How States and Localities Use CDBG Funds


Author Info

  • Research Triangle
Registered author(s):


    Experts estimate that this Nation has more than 450,000 brownfields -- vacant or underused industrial sites with environmental contamination caused by chemical compounds and other hazardous substances. To build their economies and attract employers, an increasing number of State and local governments are working with community groups and the private sector to plan, clean up, and redevelop brownfields. HUD's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Section 108 Loan Guarantee fund a full range of community development activities used by State and local governments for brownfields redevelopment. In Redeveloping Brownfields: How States and Localities Use CDBG Funds, researchers recommend that HUD "maintain and highlight the availability and flexibility of CDBG funds for brownfields redevelopment" without displacing or earmarking existing CDBG funding. Sponsored by HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research, the study surveys States and urban areas that receive CDBG funds about their awareness, involvement, and technical assistance needs in this area. Knowledge and Involvement Vary The study found that many cities and counties receiving CDBG funding (known as entitlement communities) have used CDBG for brownfields redevelopment. The study found expenditures ranging from $150,000 to more than $5,000,000 per project. Due to competing claims for their CDBG resources, States and entitlement areas do not typically earmark funds for brownfields redevelopment. Several grantees have tapped other financing sources for brownfields redevelopment, such as Environmental Protection Agency brownfields pilot grants, city bonds, and State funds. The most common use of CDBG funds for brownfields has been for remediation, followed by site assessment and redevelopment. A few grantees have used CDBG for planning, site acquisition, and demolition. A few States have used CDBG funds to provide technical assistance to communities regarding brownfields. Grantees vary in their knowledge of brownfields issues. Researchers found that many CDBG grantees believe brownfields activities include only assessment and cleanup. Experienced grantees -- especially those that worked closely with environmental agencies and the private sector -- view brownfields redevelopment as a more comprehensive process of planning, assessment, cleanup, reconstruction, and readiness. Barriers and Technical Assistance Needs The deterrents to brownfields redevelopment mentioned most frequently by grantees were cost and lack of available funding. Researchers found that the Section 108 loan guarantee program is gaining in popularity as a funding source large enough and flexible enough for economic development projects involving brownfields. Some grantees report that Section 108 loan guarantees allowed them to apply funds quickly, without encumbering current CDBG funds. Grantees with brownfields experience reported that they did not face significant liability issues, although nonexperienced grantees commonly cited liability concerns as a major deterrent. Grantees suggested that flexible cleanup standards and formal liability releases for parties not responsible for existing contamination will simplify brownfields redevelopment. Recommendations Experienced grantees reported that the potentially cumbersome issues involved in brownfields redevelopment projects -- including environmental regulations, liability, HUD regulations, lender requirements, and other legal concerns -- make them too complex for any single person or agency to understand fully. The researchers recommend that HUD promote brownfields redevelopment by continuing flexible funding streams; clarifying guidelines on how to use CDBG and Section 108; and providing reliable, targeted technical assistance. Because community development agencies often spread their staff thinly across a variety of activities, researchers found that the staff often misunderstood CDBG and Section 108 regulations in relation to brownfields. The researchers advise HUD to instruct grantees on using these programs to plan and carry out economically viable brownfields projects -- including focused technical assistance to help communities with specific projects.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by HUD USER, Economic Development in its series Economic Development Publications with number 39021.

    as in new window
    Length: 134 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 1998
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hud:wpaper:39021

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: P.O. Box 23268, Washington, DC 20026-3268
    Phone: 1-800-245-2691
    Fax: 1-202-708-9981
    Web page:
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research


    Find related papers by JEL classification:


    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.



    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hud:wpaper:39021. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (HUD USER).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.