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LVEDC Redevelopment Program on Display at Pennsylvania Brownfields Conference

By Colin McEvoy on October 1, 2018

The Pennsylvania Brownfields Conference this year is being held at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.

The Pennsylvania Brownfields Conference this year is being held at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation’s (LVEDC) redevelopment efforts are on display at the state of Pennsylvania’s largest and most prestigious conference about environmental revitalization and economic redevelopment.

The Pennsylvania Brownfields Conference is being held in the Lehigh Valley this year, running from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3 at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem. The theme of this year’s event is “Creating Community Assets: Working with What You Have.”

LVEDC is playing a prominent role in this year’s conference. The organization submitted several topics of discussion that were accepted for the event, and several LVEDC officials are slated to speak at the conference.

“We have one of strongest redevelopment programs in the state, and it’s been increasingly receiving attention as a model to be emulated,” said Andrew Kleiner, LVEDC Director of Redevelopment and External Affairs, who will be speaking at the event.

“Many people who attend these conferences are seeking to learn best practices that they can emulate, and they are finding that many of those best practices are coming from right here in the Lehigh Valley,” Kleiner said. “It also puts us in a position to help market our region’s developable brownfields”

LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham will also be speaking at the conference, providing welcoming remarks at the beginning of the event, and providing an overview of the Lehigh Valley economy later in the conference.

LVEDC’s redevelopment program is the Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative (LVLRI), an advisory group focused on promoting economic redevelopment through the reuse of abandoned and underutilized commercial and industrial properties, also known as brownfields.

Kleiner will be speaking several times at the event, including during a session entitled “Urban Brownfields to Community Trails, which will focus on the process the Lehigh Valley followed in utilizing public private partnerships and leveraging grant funding to transform former brownfields into vibrant community public spaces and trails.

Kleiner will also speak during a session focusing on “brownfields renaissances,” in particular highlighting the story about the redevelopment of a former railroad repair ship into the Slate Belt’s first YMCA.

LVEDC provided financial assistance for the Slate Belt YMCA project through an EPA assessment grant, as well as helping secure a Targeted Brownfields Assessment through LVLRI, Kleiner said.

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.

LVEDC and LVLRI have been featured multiple times at previous Pennsylvania Brownfield Conference events, as well as the National Brownfields Conference. LVLRI was one of 150 programs from around the world selected to present at the conference in 2015, from a highly competitive field of about 425 applicants.

The Pennsylvania Brownfields Conference is being organized by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania (ESWP).

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