The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines brownfields 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. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off greenspaces and working lands.

Since 1997 the BCRDA has been the leading force in the redevelopment of Brownfields in Bucks County. The Bucks County Brownfields Program started with the award of a $200,000 National Brownfields Pilot Demonstration grant from the EPA. This grant allowed the BCRDA to develop an inventory of Brownfield properties within the State designated Enterprise Zone which was located in portions of Bristol Borough, Bristol Township, Bensalem Township, Tullytown Borough and Morrisville Borough. The County Commissioners provided additional resources through the Community Development Block Grant program and 25 Brownfield sites were identified in the Enterprise Zone. Today, all 25 sites are back to productive reuse, some through private sources and many through the sources of funding at the County, State and Federal levels.

Examples of some Bucks County Brownfield properties sold

    Property: Zinc
    Street Address: Monroe & Radcliffe Streets
    City: Bristol, Pa 19007
    Municipality: Bristol Borough
    Size of Property (acres): 7.90

    Property: Graham Trucking
    Street Address: Route 13
    City: Tullytown, Pa 19007
    Municipality: Tullytown
    Size of Property (acres): 7.50

    Property: Riverfront North
    Street Address: Radcliffe Street & Monroe
    City: Bristol, Pa 19007
    Municipality: Bristol Borough
    Size of Property (acres): 17.00

Correll Steel: Located in the Bucks County Enterprise Zone, this property was acquired by the BCRDA through a cooperation agreement between the BCRDA and all taxing bodies. Corell Steel had been tax delinquent for more than ten years and had nearly $1 million due in real estate taxes. This is a classic case where developers simply wait for the final tax sale that clears the title and purchase the property through straw companies that may contain one or more of the original property owners. No one wanted to incur the cost of remediation because of the perceived environmental conditions of the property. In this case the clean up was perceived to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and in fact, after this site was assessed through the Pennsylvania States Key Sites Program, only three tanks need to be removed.

The successful Pilot effort resulted in additional federal and state assistance and increased economic opportunities for these six communities, keeping jobs and tax dollars in Bucks County. The overall success of Brownfields reclamation comes from the communication and cooperation of all levels of the governing bodies. It is now viewed as a model program in the Commonwealth and beyond.

In 2000, the BCRDA was awarded an additional EPA grant for the purpose of providing an inventory of Brownfields throughout the entire County of Bucks. With this new grant from the BCRDA was able to continue its efforts to promote the redevelopment and reuse of the vacant and underused sites. Since the successful launch of the Bucks County Brownfields Program the EPA has awarded the BCRDA additional Brownfields Assessment grants in addition to Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund grants.

The BCRDA utilizes federal, state and local resources to cleanup Brownfields throughout the County:

Many factors must be taken into consideration for a Brownfields redevelopment project to succeed:
  • Is the owner willing to have the property assessed?
  • Is the property for sale or lease?
  • What incentives are available to assist the assessment?
  • Does the property have any historic value?
  • Is the property located within a reasonable distance to major highways?
  • Is the property served with rail?
  • What I the size of the parcel of land?
  • Is there a developer or end user for the property?
  • What would the Municipality desire to have located on the property?
  • Is public transportation available to the property?

Brownfields Programs:

BCRDA Assessment Grants
PA DCED: Industrial Sites Reuse Program
PA DEP: Land Recycling Program
U.S. EPA Brownfields

Muncipal Grant Program

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