Brownfield Activity

Michigan’s brownfield laws have established a whole new set of financing mechanisms and tools for the redevelopment of contaminated, functionally obsolete, and tax-reverted properties. The magic is in knowing how to package the project and it’s financing to make it all come together.

Al Bogdan, in partnership with Marge Whittemore, structured and pulled together the brownfield programs for Wayne County. We established the authority, asked the Economic Development Corporation board to serve as its board, signed up 14 communities to be part of its brownfield zone, prepared the bylaws, and ran it through the approval process. But, equally important the county commission agreed, as a matter of policy, to finance the tax increment the projects would generate.

We pulled together a simple set of instructions, sample brownfield plan forms to be completed by firms and started to get the word out on the street. In 1999, we were pleased to be able to work with the legislature to redesign the brownfield act to add obsolete properties and to permit the use of tax increment financing for infrastructure improvements. Bogdan was appointed to sit on the technical advisory committee and were able to assure that urban related activities were included as eligible expenses.

The brownfield redevelopment authority was not only a passive tool that was responsive to outside applications, it became very proactive in projects we initiated. We applied for funding through the EPA’s PILOT environmental assessment program. We obtained $200,000 in the first application followed by two $150,000 grants, a $500,000 brownfield revolving loan fund grant, a $200,000 hazardous site assessment grant, and a $200,000 petroleum contaminated site grant. In addition we obtained a $350,000 state assessment fund grant from the state of Michigan and a $650,000 site reclamation grant from the state for a contaminated site in the city of Taylor for a site now containing a new Walmart Store.

The following are some of the projects that we were intimately involved with as an initiator of the primary strategy using brownfield laws:

AABDS, L.L.C. 13342 Sherwood Drive, Huntington Woods, MI 48070-1433 | Phone: 313-445-1843 | Fax: 432-206-1431

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