The Omaha Brownfields Coalition, consisting of Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, Metro Community College, and the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District, was awarded funding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to identify Brownfields in South Omaha Redevelopment Area. 

What is a Brownfield?

Brownfields are underutilized or abandoned properties in which future development is complicated by the perception or presence of environmental contaminants.  Brownfields sites can include land or buildings containing asbestos, mold or other pollutants; former industrial and commercial sites such as gas stations, dry cleaning facilities, grain elevators, and lands contaminated by historic landfills.

Private-public partnerships are often the catalyst in the transition of such properties from blight to vibrant developments. This project supports prospective purchasers in redeveloping urban properties by providing site assessments and redevelopment planning.

Why can Brownfields be dangerous places?

There are two kinds of dangers or risks at Brownfield sites:

Dangers you can see, like broken windows and glass, rotted wood floors, rusty nails, and old barrels, are a problem. All of these things are dangerous. Children playing at an old Brownfield site have the most risk to get hurt. They can find old underground storage tanks, and they can fall in.

Dangers you can’t see, like chemicals.  Chemicals can be at a Brownfield and you can’t see them. Some chemicals can be dangerous to human health. Toxic chemicals can make people sick if they eat them, breathe them or get them on their skin.

How can we turn bad spaces into good ones?

Get involved.  Residents know their neighborhood best.  If you are aware of development activities within your neighborhood and the site(s) in question may be considered a Brownfield, please contact us.    You may also know the history of the site (what are its past uses?) which is the basis for completing an environmental site assessment which is very helpful to us.

Public Health Screenings and Monitoring:

We will also be working with Douglas County Public Health and other organizations to support health screening and monitoring activities to identify health concerns such as asthma and elevated blood levels among South Omaha residents.  We hope to use these results as way to improve the health and well-being of community members living in South Omaha. Dates and locations for health screening and monitoring will be announced on the website listed below.

Questions?

For more information, please go to http://www.mapacog.org/current-projects or contact:

Lynn Dittmer – Metropolitan Area Planning Agency
2222 Cuming St., Omaha, NE 68102
Phone:  (402) 444-6866
Email:  ldittmer@mapacog.org

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