Rockford Mayor Doug Scott has been selected to serve as the president of the National Brownfield Associations Illinois Chapter, in what the mayor said, Called further recognition of Rockfords leading role in urban restorations. Ive worked on this issue as a city attorney, a state representative and, now, as a mayor, and it is critical for the public and private sectors to work together to develop these sites. Brownfields remediation creates wonderful opportunities for cities because it cleans up potential environmental problems, makes former industrial sites available for re-use and helps slow the growing trend toward urban sprawl.
A brownfield site is defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. The federal government estimates that as many as 1 million brownfields exist nationally.
We are delighted that Mayor Scott will be our chapter president, said Robert V. Colangelo, executive director of the Chicago-based National Brownfield Association. He brings a great passion and genuine understanding of the issues. His breadth of experience with this issue makes him an ideal candidate for leading the group and creating a state network with other mayors to identify impediments and develop solutions so that more brownfields can be responsibly redeveloped. We are also excited to have him moderate the panel discussion between stakeholders at our Jan. 15, 2004, inaugural meeting in Chicago.
Scott said: In older communities, brownfield development just makes sense. For example, in Rockford, some of our abandoned industrial sites are in the heart of the city begging to be re-used for commercial or residential development. It is critical for me, as mayor of Rockford, to work on this important issue.
Scott pointed to Recycling Americas Land, a new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, for evidence of the economic benefits of brownfield remediation. The reports findings are available online at www.usmayors.org.