"Brownfields" are areas within a city that are not in use or have not been fully-developed because of constraining circumstances. Often, these areas are entirely vacant, underutilized, or simply not targeted for development because of previous industrial uses, or because of their remote geographic location. Sites that were once centers of industrial use are often environmentally impacted which makes redevelopment difficult because of the need for extensive testing, site analysis, and remediation required to make them safe for reuse. For more information, please view our Brownfields Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

  City of  Norfolk Aerial View

The City of Norfolk has been an industrial port-city for the past 400 years. It is home to many areas that have been identified as brownfields and has been awarded four grants which will allow for the safe redevelopment of these areas – a vital step for sustainable economic development.

These grants, with a combined worth of over $1 million include:

Current Grants:

Brownfields Assessment Grant

Grantor: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This assessment grant affords states, communities, and other stakeholders an opportunity to coordinate timely efforts to prevent, assess, clean up, and reuse brownfields in a safe and sustainable manner. Grant goals include protecting human health, sustaining the reuse effort, promoting essential partnerships, and strengthening local markets.

EPA Assessment Grants provide recipients with funding for wide-ranging brownfield redevelopment steps including:

  1. Assessment of existing contamination
  2. Cleanup and Redevelopment Planning
  3. Community involvement and engagement initiatives
  4. Identification of past uses
  5. Listing composition of inventory sites

For more information on Brownfields and current efforts, please view our EPA Assessment Grant Information Sheet and EPA Assessment Grant Project Updates website.

Past grants:

Area-Wide Planning (AWP) Grant

Grantor: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This grant assists localities with their response to the challenges posed by brownfields particularly when sites:

  • Are connected to one another in terms of proximity and infrastructure
  • Place significant limitations on economic, social, and environmental development and sustainability

The goals of the grant program are meant to be reflective of the community-vision of the area and are centered on the sustained protection of public health and the safe redevelopment of brownfields sites into hubs of economic viability.

These goals are accomplished by adhering to core elements of Area-Wide Planning to include:

  1. Identification of community priorities as related to brownfield cleanup and area revitalization
  2. Evaluation of current environmental factors, detailed market analysis, and essential infrastructure upgrades
  3. Development of cleanup and reuse strategies
  4. Cataloguing and leveraging of resources to assist in project planning and investment

This grant program empowers communities to conduct the research and evaluations necessary for brownfield restoration project success while also making sound and informed policy decisions related to resource allocation as related to economic development, environmental improvements, and environmental justice.

Click here to view the Area Wide Plan

Virginia Brownfields Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund-Site Assessment & Planning Grant

Grantor: Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP)

The purpose of the Site Assessment & Planning Grant is to provide grants or loans to local governments to promotes the restoration and redevelopment of identified brownfields and to solve problems associated with environmental issues and obstacles to reuse and redevelopment of identified sites.

This grant assists with the costs of:

  1. Development of remediation and reuse plans
  2. Environmental and cultural resource site assessments
  3. Necessary treatment of human remains, grave sites, and archeological resources, and structures listed on the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register

This grant is awarded based upon the following priorities:

  1. Limited ability for applying agencies to rely on alternative sources of funding
  2. Potential for economic and environmental benefits
  3. Use or reuse of existing infrastructure in lieu of property not so currently served

Eligible applicants for the grant include only political subdivisions of the Commonwealth of Virginia to include: counties, cities, towns, industrial/economic development authorities, and redevelopment and housing authorities.

Virginia Brownfields Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund - Site Remediation Grant

Grantor: Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP)

This grant is part of an effort to support brownfield redevelopment in the state of Virginia and is the result of a partnership forged between the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The goal of the grant program is to revive brownfields into new and marketable economic development prospects. To accomplish this, Site Remediation Grants cover efforts related to:

  1. Demolition and removal of existing structures on brownfield sites
  2. Removal of hazardous waste and substances from contaminated areas
  3. Site-specific work necessary to promote future economic development

Award selection for this grant was based on the meeting of at least one of the following criteria:

  1. Use or reuse of existing infrastructure
  2. Limited ability to rely upon additional funding sources
  3. Potential for reuse and redevelopment of site considering demonstrated economic and environmental benefits

With this grant the City created Water Street Open Space in Harbor Park. Water Street Open Space is an interim use design featuring native plantings, stormwater elements to include bioretention meadows, bioretention soils, and vegetated meadow areas, along with repurposing the existing slab remaining from a demolished former storage building into a plaza/gathering area. To learn more about the project, please check out a video of the site here.