What is a Brownfield? 

Brownfields are abandoned or under-used industrial and commercial properties with actual or perceived contamination. Redevelopment or reuse of brownfields can be complicated by the presence or potential presence of contaminants. However, cleanup and reuse/redevelopment of brownfields can lead to multiple economic benefits and other opportunities such as job training, open space, and floodwater retention.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers grants for site assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment. The Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability received 3 brownfield grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For details of each grant see below.

BROWNFIELD ASSESSMENT GRANT

Currently, the Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability is implementing a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess vacant, abandoned, and underutilized brownfields in our Southern Cook County Coalition partners communities. These assessment activities are the first step leading to the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields in these communities. The coalition partners in this grant included: Chicago Heights, Ford Heights, and Sauk Village.

How do I suggest a potential brownfield site?

Public participation and assistance identifying potential sites for assessment activities is encouraged and welcomed. Please complete the Brownfields Submittal Form and send to the contact identified on the form. The information will be evaluated by our team for consideration.  Sites currently being assessed by the coalition can be found here.

REVOLVING LOAN FUND (RLF)

The Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability has a revolving loan fund from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to cleanup vacant, abandoned, and underutilized brownfields in our partnered communities. The RLF will fund cleanup activities in the following communities, Bellwood, Chicago Heights, Ford Heights, Franklin Park, Maywood, Sauk Village, and Schiller Park. 

Interested in redeveloping a site?

Property owners of brownfield sites can apply for RLF funds for cleanup activities by completing a loan application. For further information and to submit a loan application, please contact the department at environment@cookcountyil.gov.

Previous Brownfield Grant Activities

In 2014, the Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess brownfields in seven western suburbs. The coalition partners in this grant included: Bellwood, Forest Park, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, and Schiller Park. Through these grant activities the department assessed a total of 127 acres with 120 acres undergoing redevelopment and created or retained over 200 jobs. See below for a summary of grant efforts.

Funding and Other Assistance

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA)

U.S. EPA issues annual grants for brownfield planning, assessment, and cleanup activities. U.S. EPA also provides assistance through their Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) Communities Program. This program helps guide communities through the cleanup and redevelopment process at brownfield properties.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA)

The IEPA Office of Brownfields Assistance manages the brownfields grant and loan programs and offers technical support to communities through the services of its Brownfields Representatives.

Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA)

CCLBA is a unit of Cook County government, funded primarily with grants, contributions and revenues from transactions. The CCLBA works to reduce and return vacant land and abandoned buildings back into reliable and sustainable community assets.

South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority (SSLBDA)

The SSLBDA facilitates the redevelopment of acquired properties through strategic partnerships with developers, community organizations, lenders, and local governments to improve quality of life, stabilize the tax base, and enhance economic activities that promote sustainable, healthy, and stable communities in a manner consistent with local government plans and priorities.

As of December 1, 2017, the Cook County Department of Environmental Control is now the Department of Environment and Sustainability