City to host brownfields workshop

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

The economic and environmental promise that lies in Alabama’s brownfields will be discussed at a two-day workshop hosted by the City of Selma this week.

The workshop, specifically titled “Alabama Brownfields: Community Development Opportunities,” is scheduled for Wednesday, June 28 and Thursday, June 29 at the St. James Hotel. A $40 registration fee is required.

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According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), brownfields are

“sites where expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.”

With more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. today, an initiative has been launched to clean up and reinvest in these properties.

The initiative seeks to “increase local tax bases, facilitate job growth, utilize existing infrastructure, take development pressures off of undeveloped, open land and both improve and protect the environment.”

Polluted brownfields can pose serious health problems to a community, resulting in contaminated soil and water.

From an economic standpoint, a brownfield’s contaminated soil reduces the value of a property that was once a prime piece of land.

Last month, Selma was one of three Alabama cities to receive a $200,000 EPA grant to develop a brownfields inventory, conduct environmental site assessments and develop clean up plans.

The cities of Tarrant and Tuscaloosa were the two remaining grant recipients.

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr, who will welcome workshop attendees to Selma Thursday morning, said the EPA grant and the workshop are positive steps forward for the city.

“The City of Selma is fortunate to be the recipient of its second Brownfield Grant. This workshop is an opportunity for the community to better understand the brownfield process,” he said.

“We encourage all elected officials across the region to attend this informative workshop.”

Perkins later added the event is a prime opportunity for the public to get their environmental questions answered by both state and federal representatives, including Jimmie Palmer, the EPA’s Region 4 administrator from Atlanta and Trey Glenn III, director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) in Montgomery.

Others expected to speak during the workshop are John Clyde Riggs of the Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission in Camden, Uniontown Mayor Phillip White and National Association of Development Organizations Research Manager Kelly Novak from Washington, D.C.

For more information, contact Krystal Dozier, City of Selma, at (334) 874-2111 or e-mail

or Kelly Novak at (202) 624-7809 or e-mail .

Workshop Itinerary

Wednesday, June 28

1:30 – 4:30 p.m.: Former All-Lock Facility Site Mobile Workshop (board bus at the St. James Hotel)

5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.: Evening reception featuring live music by Selma Jazz Ensemble sponsored by PPM Consulting

Thursday, June 29

8 – 9 a.m.: Continental breakfast and registration

9 – 9:10 a.m.: Introduction and acknowledgements by NADO Research Manager Kelly Novak, Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. and Tammy Maul, U.S. Rep. Artur Davis’ office

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.: Break

10:45 a.m. – noon: Finding Support that Survives the Life of the Project; ADEM representative Edwin Johnston, EPA Region 4 representative Camilla Warren, Bea Fornice, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), and Charlie Bartsch, ICF Consulting, Washington, D.C.

Noon – 12:45 p.m.: Lunch and Keynote Speakers; EPA Region 4 Administrator Jimmie Palmer and ADEM Director Trey Glenn III.

2 – 3 p.m.: Rural and Small Community Case Studies; Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson, Uniontown Mayor Phillip White and Chief Billy Hewitt of Tarrant.

3:30 – 4:15 p.m.: Partnership Building; John Clyde Riggs, Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission, Camden

4:15 – 4:30 p.m.: Discussion and Closing; Kelly Novak