By David Pendered
Atlanta is about to embark on another assessment of brownfields that are located in strategic locations the city seeks to prime for redevelopment.
The first site on the list is the Proctor Creek watershed area. The new Falcons stadium is in the Proctor Creek basin, which also encompasses a planned $30 million urban renewal program to be funded by Atlanta and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
The city has allocated $392,000 for the project. Proposals are due Nov. 5. The first report is due April 30, 2015 and the federal funding for the project expires Sept. 30, 2016, according to the request for proposals.
The city’s Department of Planning and Community Development is to administer the project. The department currently does not have a commissioner.
Citizen oversight is to take the form of a 30-member Brownfield Stakeholder Advisory Committee. The committee is to include public and private sector partners who will, “provide professional and technical advice and support to the project.” The RFP does not identify the process for naming members to the committee.
In 2012, Atlanta completed a Brownfield Area-wide Planning Pilot Program that was funded with $400,000 federal grant. The project team included Georgia Tech; AMEC, Inc.; Bleakly Advisory Group; and Georgia Health Policy Center.
The current request for proposals identifies six categories of property in the city that are to be assessed. The sixth is the region that was studied in 2012:
“The Proctor Creek Watershed area – an approximately 16 square mile area wholly located within the City, Proctor Creek, which runs nine (9) miles in a northwesterly direction to the confluence of the Chattahoochee River.
- “Targeted Redevelopment Plans and Corridors – These target corridors are: Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, Simpson Road, Jonesboro Road, Campbellton Road, and Memorial Drive.
- “Tax Allocation Districts – the City has 10 Tax Allocation Districts.
- “The City’s Opportunity Zone Program Area – The City has designated Opportunity Zones. An Opportunity Zone (OZ) is a State of Georgia designation that is currently administered through the Department of Community Affairs.
- “Sites that were identified in the City’s 2009 Greenspace Program to be redeveloped: The major goal of the plan will be for the City to significantly increase the acreage of greenspace and improve its equitable distribution throughout Atlanta neighborhoods.
- “The Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Program Area: This 3,282 acre project area is in Southwest Atlanta and has five redevelopment nodes.”
Brownfields assessments provide critical information regarding the amount of hazardous substances, including petroleum contaminants, that have to be remediated before a property can be redeveloped.
Atlantic Station may be the largest example in Atlanta of a brownfield that was remediated to allow the property to be redeveloped. The old steel mill that once occupied the site contaminated the ground. An enormous amount of soil was hauled off by trucks. The parking deck in the center of the commercial section was built atop contaminated soil to prevent it from releasing its hazards.