United States
                      Protection Agency
                      Washington, D.C. 20460
                        Solid Waste
                        and Emergency
                        Response (5101)
EPA 500-F-97-040
May 1997
National  Brownfields
Assessment Pilot
                 West Central Municipal
                                 Conference, IL
  Outreach and Special Projects Staff (5101)
                                       Quick Reference Fact Sheet
EPA's Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative is designed to empower States, communities,  and other
stakeholders in economic redevelopment to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and
sustainably reuse brownfields. A brownfield is a site, or portion thereof, that has actual or perceived contamination and
an active potential for redevelopment or reuse. Between 1995 and 1996, EPA funded 76 National and Regional Brownfields
Assessment Pilots, at up to $200,000 each, to support creative two-year explorations and demonstrations of brownfields
solutions. EPAis funding morethan 27 Pilots in 1997. The Pilots are intended to provide EPA, States, Tribes, municipalities,
and communities with useful information and strategies as they continue to seek new methods to promote a unified
approach to site assessment, environmental cleanup, and redevelopment.

EPA selected the West Central Municipal Conference
(WCMC) for a Brownfields Pilot. The WCMC is a
regional group of 36 municipalities representing over
520,000 people and covering approximately 200
square miles in suburban Cook County, Illinois. The
WCMC communities are mature "inner ring" suburbs
that have recently experienced a steady loss of jobs
and population as businesses have relocated to
"greenfields" sites in more rural areas. Left behind
are an increasing number of abandoned and under-
used industrial sites, many of which are contaminated
with hazardous substances.


The main focus of the WCMC Pilot is to develop a
regional approach to facilitating redevelopment of
brownfields for which WCMC is responsible, and
thereby help mayors and economic development
officials understand and overcome the concerns of
prospective developers and neighboring communi-
ties.  The concerns which need to be addressed
include potential  liability, site investigation costs,
cleanup costs, and lack of available financing.  The
WCMC and its related economic development agency
                         PILOT SNAPSHOT
                         Cook County, Illinois
  Date of Award:
  September 1995

  Amount:  $200,000

  Site Profile: The Pilot
  targets two privately-
  owned and two publicly-
  owned brownfields within
  the 200-square mile
  WCMC in suburban Cook

                         Steve Colantino
                         Illinois Environmental
                         Protection Agency

                         James A. Janseen
                         Illinois Environmental
                         Protection Agency
                         (708) 338-7900
 David Bennett

 Bill Haubold
 U.S. EPA-Region 5
                              Visit the EPA Brownfields Website at:

hope to stimulate private investment and the creation
of jobs; revitalize the industrial and commercial
sectors; and strengthen the local tax base.


The Pilot has:

 Created a "Rapid Response Team," comprised of
 experts in legal and environmental issues, real es-
 tate, community involvement and regulatory re-
 quirements, to provide timely expertise and guid-
 ance to  property owners, developers, real estate
 brokers,  communities, and municipal officials on
 brownfields redevelopment;

 Initiated the site selection process. The WCMC is
 receiving and reviewing applications  from local
 municipalities and private property owners;

 Developed a portable display to keep the general
 public up-to-date on the process of brownfields
 remediation.  This six panel, multi-color display is
 designed to be exhibited in village halls, libraries,
 and at civic events.  The Villages of Stickney and
 LaGrange have hosted the display; and

 Developed an outreach program targeting munici-
 palities, businesses, civic groups, and community

The Pilot is:

 Supporting the redevelopment of at least two pri-
 vately-owned and two publicly-owned brownfields,
 which will include identifying candidate sites, per-
 forming site assessments, and determining cleanup
 cost estimates and standards targeted at likely future
 land use;

 Establishing a Brownfields Prevention Program to
 identify ongoing industrial activities that pose a risk
 of creating new brownfields and to develop a strat-
 egy for strengthening community-municipal-indus-
 try partnershipsto encourage environmentally sound
 community development; and
 Investigating alternative financing mechanisms to
 fund cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields
 sites - specifically,  alternative sources of public
 sector financing to identify the methods which hold
 promise for future site cleanups, including Commu-
 nity Development Block Grant Program, Empow-
 erment Zones and Tax Increment Financing.


Experience with the West Central Municipal Confer-
ence Pilot has been a catalyst for related activities
including the following.

 Discussions with area lending institutions to de-
 velop a revolving loan pool are currently in the
 preliminary stages. Funds would be made available
 forthe remediation and redevelopment ofbrownfield

 In June 1996, the Illinois Environmental Protection
 Agency (IEPA) offered the use of their Redevelop-
 ment Assessment program,  at no cost, to perform
 abbreviated Phase I and II environmental assess-
 ments. EPA Region 5 used their Mobile Laboratory
 to conduct limited surface soil analysis to determine
 possible environmental problems.

 The Department of Commerce outlined a number of
 grants that municipalities can use forthe cleanup of
 brownfield properties. Through the Economic De-
 velopment Administration's Technical Assistance
 Program, funds are available for inventorying po-
 tential  sites, market analysis, and Phase I Assess-

 A meeting took place between the Illinois Develop-
 ment Finance Authority, members of the West Cook
 Community Development  Corporation, and the
 Rockford Council of 100 to learn about funding a
 project underway in Rockford. Currently the West
 Cook Community Development Corporation's Fi-
 nance Committee is reviewing the Rockford plan.

 Participated in the Triton Community College Na-
 tional Community Education Day.  The WCMC
 made its outreach materials  available to the over a
 hundred community leaders, public officials, and
 concerned residents attending the conference.
 National Brownfields Assessment Pilot
 May 1997
             West Central Municipal Conference, Illinois
                               EPA 500-F-97-040