Demystifying Brownfields in 4 Easy Points

Main Street Brownfields
For the next WYOPASS Virtual Conference session in November,  Matt Ashby and Ben Peotter will present "Demystifying Brownfields in 4 Easy Points", November 10th at Noon (1 cm credit). 

Brownfield grants can be an effective tool to infuse funding into Main Street redevelopment projects, yet the morass of technical terms can be overwhelming. Join our session as we reframe this EPA program into Main Street terminology using the 4-Point Approach. Using examples from Main Street programs, we’ll explore how eligible grant activities can address Design, Organization, Promotion and Economic Vitality. Tips and tricks to writing a successful grant will increase your odds of success. Come learn how this no-match grant can help electrify your workplan and revitalize the ramshackle buildings on your Main Street.

Brownfield redevelopment is something that many Main Streets encounter, but few are ever prepared for.  Working with the alphabet soup of EPA acronyms can be challenging at best, yet with a little patience, this program can help advance downtown redevelopment.  Choose this session if you’re interested in leveraging this $300,000 program to address problem-properties on your Main Street.  

The goal for this session is to explain how the EPA Brownfield program can dovetail into the traditional Main Street 4-Point Approach.  While most people naturally think brownfield funding is only for sampling contaminants, other dynamic tools can help propel revitalization of buildings and districts.  Using the Four Point Approach, our panel will highlight how this powerful grant program can be deployed on Main Street for success.  

Goals for the session will be to translate brownfield grant lingo into Main Street Speak so folks have a better understanding of how to use these grants.  Starting with Design, we’ll illustrate how projects can use 3D visuals to spark enthusiasm for redevelopment.  Promotion is another important strategy to dispel property owners’ concerns about working with the EPA.  Organization is critical to ensure the grant is guided by a multidisciplinary team to leverage results.  And finally, Economic Vitality strategies can help target local businesses who might occupy once-abandoned buildings.  Together, this bridging of Main Street and Brownfields is sure to enlighten participants to the opportunity these grants can provide.  

The presentation style will include a rapid-fire introduction of the EPA Brownfield Program, while quickly transitioning into the layering of the 4-Points to illustrate how relevant the grant is for Main Street.  Using examples from nearly a dozen Main Street communities, our panel will seek to demystify how this program can be applied locally.   

The end goal is to give participants a firm grasp of how the EPA Brownfield Grant can be used to tackle some of their toughest workplan goals.

Participants will learn how to…

  1. Link eligible grant activities under the brownfield program with annual work plan goals.

  2. Get started in writing a grant, along with tips and tricks to structuring a winning proposal.

  3. Communicate the benefits of the grant using the Main Street 4-Point Approach.

  4. Identify project partners in local government who can help submit a grant application.  


Matt Ashby
Matt is a trailblazer in community development. After 15 years of public sector service, Matt moved to the private sector in 2015. Using his local government roots to help communities advance their vision, Matt is well versed in downtown development, comprehensive and strategic planning, as well as code writing, design review and zoning entitlements.  Ashby’s downtown street cred includes projects with Colorado and Wyoming Main Street Programs as well as an appointment directing Windsor’s Downtown Development Authority.   Recent project highlights include the Cheyenne West Edge district revitalization, and Lamar’s Prairie Crossroads brownfield initiative.  Educated at the University of Colorado, Ashby holds dual Master’s Degrees in Urban Design and Urban & Regional Planning.

Ben Peotter 
Ben’s team works with communities to develop strategic plans and funding strategies to redevelop Brownfields and other impacted properties on an area-wide or site-specific basis. This has helped return blighted properties to reuse such as parks, or to the tax rolls minimizing suburban sprawl, increasing jobs, and enhancing the safety and aesthetics of the community. Ben is a licensed environmental engineer with 20 years of experience in site (re)development, grant writing, environmental remediation, and permitting.