This paper describes the process Delta Institute’s project team used to obtain and directly integrate a community’s goals and needs into an engineering-based, brownfields prioritization rubric. We scored brownfield sites to produce refined, site marketability scores and summaries that were then used to inform a more time intensive, flexible, and individualized community and stakeholder engagement process. We incorporated significant community input on desired reuse of the sites to ensure that potential redevelopment was inclusive, respectful, and culturally appropriate.
Delta Institute has worked with numerous communities who are faced with a closed or closing coal power plant. These sites have unique needs for redevelopment, ranging from environmental remediation to replacement of lost tax revenue and jobs. Delta facilitated a coalition of community groups located outside Pittsburgh, PA to create Guiding Principles for sustainable redevelopment of the closed Shenango Coke Plant property located on Neville Island, located on the Ohio River. Intended for use by future developers of the 50-acre site, these Guiding Principles were created by the Shenango Reimagined Advisory Council, composed of citizens, environmental groups, economic development agencies, and municipalities. The revisioning process also identified 20 site reuse ideas that are in alignment with Guiding Principles and market forces. These efforts were facilitated by Delta staff.
Delta Institute is an expert with construction and demolition waste reduction, recycling, reuse, policy and economic development. The City of St. Louis, St. Louis Development Corporation, the Missouri Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority, and Region 7 EPA selected Delta Institute to revise its demolition handbook, develop specifications for deconstruction, train contractors around building material reuse, and plan a deconstruction pilot program. The City of St. Louis has leveraged Delta’s support to advance a multi-partner strategy to reduce waste from demolition, reuse building materials, and protect public health.
Collaborating with Midwest communities to aid their waste reduction efforts is one of Delta’s core initiatives—leading to this report released with support from the EPA and the Building Material Reuse Association. The report provides data to the private and public sector to decrease the disposal rate of reusable materials—and save these valuable supplies from landfills—and increase the capacity of local and state governments to adopt policies encouraging building material reuse and recycling with the recognition of local economic benefits.
Every material has a story, and wood is no different. Be it wood sourced from a local gymnasium’s floor, wood from a fallen tree, or wood grown on contaminated land as a remediation tool – it has a story with unique, marketable features. Designers, architects, and developers use the StoryWood Toolkit to identify, evaluate, and share information on various types of wood. We intend to provide Midwest design and architectural firms with a competitive advantage in the building material reuse, architectural salvage, and antique lumber marketplace–while reducing the amount of raw materials sent to landfill.
Deconstruction is the process of dismantling structures in a way that enables materials to be salvaged. For communities struggling with vacancy and unemployment, deconstruction can serve as a useful tool as they work toward revitalization. Delta Institute created a useful and approachable guide to deconstruction strategy to give municipalities a free resource in their waste reduction and resiliency efforts.
Delta Institute has worked with communities throughout the Midwest who are transitioning from a coal-based economy and seeking redevelopment of closed or closing coal power plants. Delta created a Roadmap with practical tools and processes for communities to plan for the redevelopment of coal plant sites based on our work in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and other communities with closing or closed coal plants.
With funding provided by the Just Transition Fund, Delta Institute evaluated and analyized policy approaches to help communities facing the closure of their local coal plant. As power plants continue to go offline and coal mines close, communities that house these facilities are faced with the challenge of planning for the remediation and reuse of their brownfield site, retraining displaced workers, and filling the hole in their community’s tax base.
Delta authored this Guide to act as an approachable, open-source guide on standard GI techniques and the basic requirements and considerations for properly implementing them. It provides decision support tools that help communities select the right GI technique, identify where to locate it and forecast the benefits that it will bring. The Guide plays an important role in implementing Delta’s GI work, particularly through our community planning projects, construction projects, and our trainings.
So often the voice of communities facing closure or the recent loss of their coal plant and the related jobs, tax base, and overall economic driver for their locality is lost–or diminished by the voices of others who are not directly affected by the coal industry’s decline. Delta Institute engaged with communities nationwide to learn more about their realities, impacts, and visions for their future–one that is vibrant and prosperous for their municipality, coal plant workers, their families, and coal companies themselves.