Antioch Brownfield Assessments
The Village of Antioch is a community of 14,301 located within the Chicago metropolitan area in northeastern Illinois. Illinois Highway 83 (IL-83) bisects the heart of the town’s central business district, which previously represented a center for commerce and employment. Unfortunately, many of these businesses became less viable and have subsequently either closed or moved to a more opportune location. What remains of the downtown is a stark reminder of its vibrant past. In addition, numerous buildings and sites remain stigmatized with the perception of environmental contamination.
Inappropriate historical zoning practices further exacerbate the contamination concerns. The area contains several instances of incongruent land uses located within close proximity, including industrial manufacturing sites adjoining area schools and recreational facilities. Collectively, this situation has led to examples of severe disinvestment. The net result has been the environmental and economic decline of the community’s urban core. Despite these setbacks, recent investments in downtown transportation infrastructure – particularly the Metra Commuter Rail Station and a $14 million IL-83 infrastructure improvement – have created a renewed development interest in the area.
The Village of Antioch, IL was awarded an EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant to assess underutilized properties potentially impacted by Hazardous Substances and encourage the reuse and redevelopment of subject properties. HR Green assisted the Village with meeting the requirements of the EPA Assessment Grant. A key part of this project involves the redevelopment of underused land, blighted properties, and former industrial areas. The target area is home to area schools, recreational facilities, a commuter rail depot, and the central business district. The Village of Antioch used the grant to conduct Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) to determine whether any perceived or real environmental impairments exist and transition properties toward redevelopment.
The Village completed eleven (11) Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) on 28 parcels totaling 20.39 acres in addition to three (3) Phase II ESAs. The ESAs were conducted in a manner consistent with EPA’s All Appropriate Inquiry requirements in support of allowing the community to grow and expand in a manner that revitalizes the urban core.
The Village and HR Green collaborated to create a highly interactive brownfields project website that utilized a Geographic Information System (GIS) platform to display information (http://arcg.is/2cTMMnt). The tool allowed the community to geo-reference all project data including sites targeted for investigation, sites with completed assessment activities, etc. This information made the project more transparent for the general public, as they could access all project-related information at any time. The Village is currently working to incorporate the link into its own website.