Sept. 30, 2017 – Washington Co., WI – The Washington County Site Redevelopment Program has been selected to receive the 2017 Planning Excellence Award from the American Planning Association – Wisconsin Chapter for Plan Implementation. Since 2012, Washington County has been proactively working to evaluate, assess and plan for the redevelopment of idle or underutilized sites.
The Program was designed to provide an integrated multidisciplinary approach to supporting the redevelopment of former commercial, industrial, and other vacant or underutilized properties sometimes referred to as “brownfields.” The integrated approach combines planning, economic development, and environmental assessment/remediation expertise in evaluating and prioritizing sites for funding, identifying and quantifying environmental and other liabilities, creating integrated remediation/reuse plans, and advancing sites to redevelopment or a “shovel ready” status.
Regarding the award to the Site Redevelopment Program, the American Planning Association Wisconsin Chapter jury commented, “This program and its implementation is the result of an impressive coalition of multiple communities and agencies working together to achieve common goals. The prioritization strategy helps leverage various funding sources and sets the stage for long-term reinvestment.”
In 2013, Washington County formed a Redevelopment Coalition with the City of Hartford, City of West Bend, Village of Jackson, Village of Richfield and Village of Slinger and has received $1.2 million in USEPA Community-wide Coalition Brownfield Assessment Grants to perform Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments, complete remedial action plans, engage in redevelopment planning and perform community outreach and education.
A Site Redevelopment Committee (SRC) leads the coalition and is made up of 10 representatives from the County Board, City/Village Administrators, City Planners, County Workforce Development, Economic Development Organization, and a commercial real estate professional. Program support is provided by a Project Management Team including Debora Sielski, Deputy Planning and Parks Administrator for Washington County and Project Manager of the Site Redevelopment Program, David Holmes, Senior Environmental Scientist for Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., Jolena Presti, Principal Planner for Vandewalle & Assoc. and Christian Tscheschlok, Executive Director for Economic Development Washington County.
The Site Redevelopment Program has had exceptional results to date including the completion of a county-wide potential redevelopment site inventory, environmental site assessments, successful leveraging of fiscal resources to provide the best opportunities for redevelopment, empowering decision makers by creating an online redevelopment analysis tool and connecting potential businesses and other end-users with redevelopment sites.
When asked about the role of planners in the Site Redevelopment Program, Rick Gundrum, County Board Chairperson said, “Since 2013, our program has had a proven record demonstrating the types of successes that are possible when professional planners work to maximize resources and take a regional approach to problem solving. It is imminently clear that the success of our work was driven by collective buy-in achieved through a process and approach that would not have emerged without the commitment from professional planners.”
The award will be celebrated at the annual conference of the American Planning Association Wisconsin Chapter on October 27 at the Hilton City Center in Milwaukee.