When brownfields sit idle, everybody loses. Neighbors face environmental worries and reduced property values. Cities see roads, sewers, and other infrastructure underused. New businesses seek out "greenfields" or undeveloped land, encouraging sprawl. And brownfield owners must deal with a long list of worries - from potential lawsuits to deriving too little income from their property.
When owners or developers clean up brownfields and put them to new uses, many people benefit. Cleanups address environmental problems. Redevelopment can bring new jobs and higher tax revenues. Revitalized brownfields can breathe new life into neighborhoods.
Brownfields offer opportunities that go beyond their old uses. Developers have transformed brownfields into everything from golf courses and driving ranges to mixed developments with housing, office, shopping, and open space. Smaller properties have found new life as bakeries and greenhouses. In short, many uses may be open to a clean site.
Many communities, businesses and environmentalists agree that brownfield redevelopment is worth encouraging. As a result, a variety of private and public sector guidance and incentives have been developed to encourage brownfield redevelopment. Redevelopment is seldom easy or risk-free. But if done right, redevelopment can bring special rewards: peace of mind, income, and a cleaner environment.