Font Size:

Brownfield Redevelopment Authority

What is a brownfield and what might it look like in your community?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a brownfield is real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. In simple terms, a brownfield is property that is either contaminated or that people think might be contaminated.Common examples of brownfields include former gas stations, metal plating facilities, factories, and dry cleaners. Brownfields can be as small as a corner lot or can cover hundreds of acres and can exist almost anywhere - from commercial corridors to rural areas. Many sites now considered brownfields once provided economic vitality and jobs to local communities.

What does a Brownfield Authority do?

A Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA) helps redevelop blighted, contaminated or functionally obsolete properties. Brownfield authorities can qualify for Brownfield site federal and state grants.

Wayne County Coalition Assessment Brownfield Grant:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a $1,000,000 Coalition Assessment Brownfield Grant to the Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (WCBRA). WCBRA will use the funds to assess brownfield sites where redevelopment will support environmental improvement initiatives, foster economic growth, and enhance the quality of life for residents.

As part of a continuing, overarching effort to rebuild and grow, Wayne County has established initiatives that focus on the redevelopment of brownfield properties previously impacted by industrial uses, as well as implemented programs that are designed to retain and attract small business. To that end, Wayne County has formed a coalition with the Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA), and the 8-Mile Boulevard Association (8MBA), both of which are non-profit 501(c)3s community-based business associations in Wayne County.

SDBA is a partnership of businesses within Southwest Detroit that is committed to employing strategies that support existing business and industrial enterprises, enhancing the climate for public and private investment and economic growth, and acts as a vehicle for cooperative ventures that support economic development.

8MBA is comprised of local government staff and officials, business owners, and residents whose mission is to revitalize the 8-Mile Road Boulevard corridor by attracting and retaining new and existing businesses, facilitating beautification projects, and assisting with code compliance with the goal of unlocking the boulevard's regional economic potential.

To that end, the Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and Coalition members have identified the following three target areas to focus their use of grant funds:

  • The SDBA target area is an approximately 9-square mile area in southwest Detroit, along the Detroit River that was established as intermodal transport hub between the 1930's and 1950's and is home to the Ambassador Bridge.
  • The 8MBA target area which includes the south side of a 4 ¼ mile section of the 8- Mile Road corridor in northern Detroit, between Van Dyke Avenue and Kelly Roads.
  • The Michigan Avenue target area is a 2½-mile stretch of commercial/industrial corridor located along the Michigan Avenue corridor, between Henry Ruff and South Beech Daly Roads in the City of Inkster.

Applications for projects that are shovel-ready, have known or suspected contamination, and have the potential to create economic growth are encouraged to be submitted for Wayne County's consideration.

Assessment Grant Application

Eligible Applicants

  • Applicant is in good standing with applicable governmental entities (i.e. current on federal, state, county and local income tax, property tax, utilities, code violations, fees).
  • For-Profit and Non-profit entities can apply for assessment funding.
  • Applicants currently under regulatory program compliance or enforcement actions are not eligible for funding.

Eligible Expenses

  • Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
  • Phase II Environmental Site Assessment
  • Asbestos and Universal Waste Surveys
  • Lead Based Paint Surveys (non-residential)
  • Cleanup Planning

Ineligible Expenses

  • Cleanup Activities

Application Process and Timeline

Application SubmissionSubmit an application and supporting documentation to the Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. Failure to submit a complete application and required documentation will delay the review and approval process.

Application Review

The Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (WCBRA) will review the application and supporting documentation to determine the eligibility. Eligible applications will be reviewed to ensure appropriate approvals have been obtained prior to the application being approved.

Application Approval

The application may be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority for final site approval.

Brownfield Assessment Grant Award

If the application is approved, the applicant will be notified promptly. The Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (WCBRA) will identify vendors to perform eligible assessments and remedial activities requested in the Brownfield Assessment Grant Application. Selected vendors will be paid directly by the WCBRA upon completion of work.

Tax Increment Financing: The Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act, mcl Act 381 of 1996, enables the WCBRA to authorize tax increment financing for the implementation of redevelopment projects. The incremental increases to property tax revenues can be captured and used to finance eligible activities on a site, including baseline environmental assessments, due care activities and additional environmental response activities.

A Path Forward: Brownfield Area-Wide Plan

In 2017, the EPA selected the Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority as a Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant recipient. The Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority worked with the community and other stakeholders to develop an area-wide plan and implementation strategy for the redevelopment of the City of River Rouge's downtown area, the area of the DTE Energy Rouge River Power Plant (which fronts both the Rouge and Delaware Rivers and closed in 2021), and the neighborhood in between these two sites.

The project occurred in three phases: Understanding, Idea Testing, and Deciding & Doing. Each phase included a public workshop and an advisory committee meeting.Click here to see the deliverables of the Area-Wide Plan Grant.

Click here to see the deliverables of the Area-Wide Plan Grant.

For additional information, contact Hassan Sheikh

Monthly WCBRA Meetings
Next Meeting: Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 2:00 P.M.
Where: In-Person on the 30th floor of the Guardian Building at 500 Griswold, Detroit MI 48226. You can also join via zoom here.

EPA Resources:

Anatomy of a Brownfield (pdf)
Is there a Brownfield in my Community? (pdf)
Brownfield Reuses (pdf)
Supporting Environmental Justice through Brownfields (pdf)

Documents & Reports