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Carnegie Mellon University Opens New Brownfields Center With Assistance From Congresswoman Melissa Hart's Office

Deborah A. Lange
Carnegie Mellon University President Jared L. Cohon and U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart (R-Fox Chapel) have announced the creation of a new Western Pennsylvania Brownfields Center.

The new center, which will be housed at the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research (SEER), will be a resource for local communities and will serve as a vehicle to enhance the growth of brownfields cleanup and development in western Pennsylvania, according to Deborah A. Lange, executive director of SEER.

"Solutions for brownfields are complex and multidisciplinary, and there is a wealth of experience in western Pennsylvania. As the center evolves, we hope to engage the expertise of local stakeholder groups, including government officials, and others from banks, consulting firms, insurance companies and real estate developers," Lange said. "We are extremely grateful to Rep. Hart for helping us obtain a $200,000 Small Business Administration grant to fund the new center."

Brownfields are abandoned, dormant and underused industrial or commercial properties with either actual or perceived environmental contamination that could deter expansion or redevelopment.

"The Pittsburgh region has been a leader in developing its old brownfields, and this new center will continue to stimulate that development," Hart said.

As in most Rust Belt cities, Pittsburgh's riverfront was once home to mills and warehouses. In recent years, more than $800 million in public and private money has been pumped into half a dozen projects to restore the old industrial riverfront, like the $280 million conversion of the old LTV steel site into 2.7 million square feet of offices, apartments, retail shops and entertainment venues in a section of the city's South Side.

The new Western Pennsylvania Brownfields Center will work with community leaders and small businesses to address issues relating to eliminating development barriers and taking advantage of opportunities for continued redevelopment of the region's brownfields. In providing ready access to information, the new center will hold seminars and create a Web site, or "one-stop-shop," of useful brownfields development guidance, including information produced by federal sources, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and state entities, such as the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Chriss Swaney
March 6, 2006

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