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LVEDC to Participate in National Conference on Redevelopment of Brownfields

By Colin McEvoy on March 24, 2015

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) has been invited to participate in one of the premier national conferences and trade shows focused on environmental revitalization and economic redevelopment.

LVEDC has been selected to make a presentation at the 2015 National Brownfields Conference, which will be held in Chicago from September 2 to 4, during which LVEDC representatives will discuss the successes of the organization’s Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative (LVLRI) program.

LVLRI is focused on promoting economic development through the reuse of abandoned and underutilized commercial and industrial properties, also known as brownfields. It is one of 150 programs around the world to be selected for the conference, from a highly competitive field of about 425 applicants.

Andrew Kleiner

Andrew Kleiner

“I applied for this conference because I think the LVLRI program is one of the stronger redevelopment programs out there, and I want to tell people about it,” said Andrew Kleiner, LVEDC director of redevelopment and external affairs.

“A lot of people who come to these conferences are trying to learn what programs are out there so they can emulate best practices,” Kleiner said. “This conference will show that LVEDC, through LVLRI, is a leader in redevelopment, and also sets us up to help market our developable brownfields in the Lehigh Valley.”

LVLRI was selected by a panel of national stakeholders in brownfield redevelopment as a model of local innovation in economic revitalization and as an inspirational success story, according to Katherine Takai, a project manager with the International City/County Management Association.

Over the last 15 years, LVLRI has seen 3,000 acres of contaminated land remediated, over $400 million of leveraged funding based on years of successful U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant wins, and the creation of about 1,200 jobs, according to Kleiner.

LVLRI accomplishes brownfields redevelopment in several ways, including helping site owners and developers identify financial assistance for environmental assessment and remediation work at brownfield sites, and by assisting on technical matters such as grant/loan application preparation, environmental work plan preparation, and the completion of buyer/seller agreements.

Additionally, LVLRI serves as an intermediary between all parties involved in a brownfield transaction, and maintains an inventory of underutilized commercial/industrial properties throughout the Lehigh Valley. Fostering economic development while protecting human health and the environment is one way in which LVEDC works to support sustainable development.

The LVLRI is an advisory committee comprised of municipal officials from cities, boroughs and townships in both Lehigh and Northampton counties, as well as brownfield experts, regulatory agency representatives, private developers, engineers, and consultants.

“The union of these entities has generated a prescribed program of action, demonstrated success, and unparalleled communication in Pennsylvania,” Klenier said.

Kleiner’s presentation at the 2015 National Brownfields Conference will be called “Building a Successful Local Partnership: The Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative.”

Kleiner will also deliver a presentation about LVLRI at the 2015 Pennsylvania Brownfields Conference, which will be held in Erie, Pa., from May 13 to 15. LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham will also be a panelist at that event, and the conference will include a featured story about the Coca-Cola Park project.

Additionally, LVLRI was highlighted at EPA grant-writing workshop last year, where Kleiner said officials were very impressed with the program model and considered many of its components to be best practices-worthy. LVEDC representatives also previously attended the 2013 National Brownfields Conference in Atlanta.

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