LVEDC’s Redevelopment Program Heralded as a Pennsylvania Best Practice

By Kat Schneider on April 1, 2020

The Simon Silk Mill in Easton was one of the Lehigh Valley redevelopment programs LVEDC’s Andrew Kleiner discussed at the Pennsylvania Brownfields Conference.

The redevelopment program of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) was on display at the state of Pennsylvania’s biggest and most prestigious conference about environmental revitalization and the development of brownfields.

Nearly 400 professionals in the redevelopment realm gathered for the Pennsylvania Brownfields Conference, held March 9 to 11 at Penn State in State College, to network, celebrate the field’s successes and discuss best practices.

Andrew Kleiner, LVEDC Director of Redevelopment and External Affairs

Andrew Kleiner

More than 20 different presentations were made from prestigious redevelopment professionals across the state, including LVEDC Director of Outreach and Redevelopment Andrew Kleiner who leads LVEDC’s redevelopment program, the Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative.

The event was held before any quarantines or warnings about large gatherings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, though Kleiner still used social distancing measures as a precaution.

LVLRI is an advisory group focused on promoting economic redevelopment through the reuse of abandoned and underutilized commercial and industrial properties, also known as brownfields.

Specifically, Kleiner spoke on redevelopment projects in the Lehigh Valley such Simon Silk Mill in Easton and Easton Iron and Metal, as well as the future of redevelopment.

The event offers an opportunity for redevelopment professionals to network and to become familiarized state and government regulations related to their field, Kleiner said.

“The Brownfield Conference allows for a variety of professionals to come together and discuss best practices,” he said. “We all learn from each other.”

Organized by the Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the conference featured 55 vendors, which was the highest number in the event’s history.

The event also featured three general sessions which included state and federal updates on brownfields programs, a futures forecast, and an informative, educational, and uplifting story on one business’s success that chose a brownfield as a place to build and expand their business.

This was not the first year Kleiner was featured as a speaker at the annual event, with LVEDC and LVLRI having 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.

LVEDC’s LVLRI advisory committee is 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.

LVLRI accomplishes brownfield 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 connector between all parties involved in a brownfield transaction. Fostering economic development while protecting human health and the environment is one way in which LVEDC works to support sustainable development.

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