Grant Application Documents
Why is the City of Ocala involved in redeveloping Brownfields?
As a local government, the City of Ocala’s mission is to provide fiscally responsible services consistent with the community’s current and future expectations. One of the strategic goals of that mission is to ensure the city has quality of place. That includes joining in the effort to redevelop or activate vacant, abandoned, or underutilized properties that could benefit the public. Redevelopment of property saves the City money by not having to extend services further and further from existing infrastructure such as water, sewer and electric, solid waste, police and fire and roads and telecommunications. Remediating hazardous materials ensures citizens have a healthy environment in which to live, play and prosper.
Who is responsible for cleaning up a property with hazardous material contamination?
The property owner is typically responsible, especially if they caused the contamination. However, if a property owner can show it did not cause the contamination, it may work with the US EPA or State agencies to apply for assistance to remediate the property.
What is a Brownfield?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a brownfield 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."
IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES
Begun in 1996 with the intent to jump start revitalization of the city's downtown, the City of Ocala Brownfields program is intended to assist property owners with the Assessment of their parcels to determine the presence of hazardous materials. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) defines a Brownfield as "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." If eligible, a property owner may utilize assistance from the City (through the USEPA) to determine whether hazardous materials are present, and if so, the geographic extent of those materials in the soil, water or air on that parcel.
Between 1996 and 2008, the City was able to assess 46 parcels in the downtown area through the USEPA grant program. Of these parcels, 25, or 54%, were redeveloped or repurposed. Focusing on the historically industrial downtown area, most parcels went from a previous industrial use to a commercial or office use. However, in recent years, Ocala citizens have recognized a need for more residential uses in the downtown area, and staff are working to effect this change with all the tools available, include redeveloping brownfields.
The City is working to secure USEPA grant monies in order to further redevelopment efforts in West Ocala, one of the neighborhoods most negatively affected by brownfields. On downtown brownfields, staff, investors and companies imagined redevelopment like the former White's meat packing plant, transformed into an impressive office building. Or the pocket park on North Magnolia Avenue. Imagine the possibilities for brownfields near you!
Click on the story map link below for additional information on the program. If you have any questions, please call Lisa Walsh, 352-629-8381 or firstname.lastname@example.org.