A coalition comprised of the Cities of Colorado Springs and Fountain, Colorado Springs Utilities, and School District 11 received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant in 2019 to support revitalization of brownfields — properties that have been, or may be perceived to have been, affected environmentally. The Coalition has been utilizing the $600,000 in grant funding to inventory and prioritize brownfield sites for revitalization, help property owners assess existing site conditions, and plan for future cleanup and reuse of priority sites throughout the project focus area of Shooks Run and Fountain Creek Corridors.
What is a Brownfield?
A “brownfield” is a property that has been, or may be perceived to have been, affected environmentally. The potential presence of hazardous substances, petroleum, or regulated building materials like asbestos and lead paint may impede redevelopment opportunities. By completing environmental site assessment and cleanup planning, it is possible to transform brownfields from liabilities into assets that will benefit the community.
Grant-funded Assistance Available
Grant-funded technical assistance may still be available to parties interested in completing environmental site assessments and regulated building material (such as asbestos and lead paint) surveys and/or developing site cleanup/reuse plans in support of a property’s sale or redevelopment. The assistance is available through the end of September 2022 or until funds are expended. Property owners, business owners, and developers are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to further economic development initiatives, protect public health, and restore the health of creeks and the environment. Property owner participation in this program is completely voluntary.
How to apply
The Coalition is still accepting applications for technical assistance. Sites in the Shooks Run and Fountain Creek corridor focus areas with a need for environmental assessment and/or cleanup or re-use planning, and where revitalization supports broader community goals, will be prioritized for consideration by the Coalition. Please fill out the nomination form below to apply.
Program Background and Guiding Principles
In 2015, the City of Colorado Springs embarked on Envision Shooks Run - a community-driven plan to breathe new life into the Corridor. The 4-mile Shooks Run Corridor is planned as the final segment of the landmark 10-mile Legacy Loop Greenway that rings downtown Colorado Springs, connecting a regional web of creeks and trails. The Loop’s transformational potential is evident in the vibrant parks, neighborhoods, and up-and-coming economies along its completed sections. However, brownfields blight the Shooks Run Corridor, isolating it from downtown Colorado Springs and impacting the surrounding neighborhoods.
The Fountain Creek Corridor located in the City of Fountain, downstream of Shooks Run, is also a focus area for the grant-funded efforts. The City of Fountain plans to prioritize brownfield revitalization in the US Highway 85 (US85) Urban Renewal Area (URA), which consists of the Gateway Improvement and the Olde Town sub-districts. This grant effort will work in tandem with prior studies and revitalization efforts of today. The 83-acre Fountain Creek Bank site is also a high redevelopment priority because it is an underutilized commercial area located between Fountain Creek, US85, and Fountain Creek Regional Park. The Creek Bank sites are characterized by decades of mixed-material manufacturing use, heavy fleet and automotive repair operations, and haphazard outdoor storage.
To realize the goals of both corridors, the Colorado Springs-Fountain Coalition Brownfield Initiative is being funded by a $600,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Assessment Grant awarded to the City of Colorado Springs. The Program is managed by the City of Colorado Springs and Coalition partners with support from a Brownfield Advisory Committee and an environmental consulting team. The grant covers environmental site assessments and other cleanup/reuse preparation and planning activities at publicly and privately-owned brownfield sites through September 2022.
The EPA defines brownfields as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential [i.e. perceived] presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” Environmental impacts from historic industrial operations and commercial activities have resulted in vacant and underutilized brownfield properties throughout the focus area. Brownfields may include derelict industrial sites, former auto-related businesses, former lumber mill sites, sites once used for agricultural purposes, and other vacant and underutilized commercial and industrial properties. The Coalition will work with interested property owners to assess environmental liabilities and develop cleanup/reuse plans to catalyze the redevelopment of brownfield sites.
- Educate and engage with Coalition communities to promote public participation and input on priority redevelopment areas and sites;
- Protect public health and the environment;
- Remove redevelopment barriers by addressing previously unknown site conditions and moving sites toward shovel ready status;
- Focus the use of grant funds on priority sites that will attract investors and become a catalyst for new employment opportunities and a sustainable job base;
- Promote infillDevelopment of vacant land within previously built areas. These areas are already served by public infrastructures, such as transportation and utilities. Parks and open space are also considered infill, since they are permanent uses for vacant parcels. development that maximizes the use of existing land, infrastructure and utilities;
- Invest in sites that will generate public and private revenue;
- Help neighborhoods thrive by supporting transformation of blighted sites.
Grant Program Materials
More information about the Colorado Springs-Fountain Coalition Brownfield Initiative, and about EPA’s Brownfields Assessment Grants is contained in the documents and links below.
Previous Public Meetings
March 14, 2022 public meeting
On March 14, the Colorado Springs-Fountain Coalition held a public virtual event to share progress on using a Brownfield Assessment Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The recording of that event and a copy of the presentation slides are available below.