By Jill Ralph. The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation conducted a series of focus group discussions with regional development organizations to determine the state of rural and small metropolitan brownfields.

Group discussions across the United States helped determine the types of obstacles experienced and some solutions to overcome them. The most important lesson cited by participants was the need for community buy-in or support. Among other findings, the strongest motivating force behind redeveloping brownfields is the potential for economic development and job creation. At right is a sample of some of the research group's questions and a general consensus of the participants' responses.

Question: What obstacles does your community face in redeveloping brownfields?

General Consensus: Lack of demand...reluctance of prospective purchasers...lack of state egislation and state standard information...banks not involved in encouraging misconceptions.

Question: How did successful brownfields redevelopers get the funding?

General Consensus: "Seed money" often came from local grass roots initiative...combining work force development funds and tax initiatives...recreation investment, both public and private.

Question: What is the projected economic impact of redevelopment in your region?

General Consensus: Positive economic results translate into one word -- Jobs...potential increase in tax base...improved infrastructure...enhanced community marketability...reduced long-term costs.

Source: NADO Research Foundation

Published in BIG BUILDER Magazine, February 2003