Brownfields Provide Opportunity to Duluth

By KBJR News 1

January 23, 2013 Updated Jan 23, 2013 at 11:46 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The city of Duluth is looking at contaminated land in a new light.

Three of Duluth's most popular spots; the Canal Park Brewing Company, Heritage Sports Center, and the Duluth Children's Museum...were all built on what are called brownfields.

"It's property that's been used previously, often in the case of brownfields it has an industrial past, and with that comes some...what we call legacy issues. Issues that remain from that past use that need to be taken care of so that the property can be redeveloped," said Heide Timm-Bijold, Business Resource Manager for the City of Duluth.

In many cases brownfield properties have been contaminated and need cleaning up before new development can begin.

The tricky part is getting potential business owners to invest in these properties.

The city of Duluth is doing what it can to provide funding to redevelop its remaining brown fields.

"We are providing the market place with a property so that the market, private sector can do what it's qualified to do and that is to lead development. And our job is to provide the resources which include land and financial to help them drive the economy," said Timm-Bijold.

In many cases the land owner doesn't know what kind of contamination is on the site or how to deal with it, which is where Environmental Troubleshooters come into play.

"We are a full service environmental consulting firm, a lot of things we do, a lot of type of clean up projects and we do a lot of work on these redevelopment projects and getting and knowing what you have I think is really important," said Craig Wilson, President of Environmental Troubleshooting in Duluth.

The firm helps property owners identify and decide a cost effective way of handling contaminated land.

"In some cases it's on site, you can use it under paved roads or parking lots, that can be an acceptable place to put some of this lower level contaminated material," said Wilson.

It's all about minimizing cost and maximizing clean up.

The most common contaminates the firm sees on brownfield sites are petroleum, lead and arsenic.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.