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.


Western Cook County Coalition Grant Activities

In 2014, the Cook County Department of Environmental Control received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess vacant, abandoned, and underutilized brownfields in seven western suburbs. These assessment activities are the first step leading to the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields in these communities.

Coalition partners: 

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 contacts identified on the form. The information will be evaluated by our team for consideration.

Documents and Other Information:

Documents such as public information notices and reports are available for viewing and download. Additional documents will be posted as they become available.

Economic Effects of Brownfields in West Cook County

Economic Effects of Brownfields in West Cook County (Spanish)

Brownfield Project Overview

Brownfield Project Overview (Spanish)



West Suburban Brownfields Initiative Public Information Event

Want to find out more about Cook County’s work with seven West Suburban communities to assess under-used commercial and industrial properties so they can be cleaned up and redeveloped?

Come to a public event Thursday, May 19th, 7:30 am to 9:30 am, at the Bellwood Public Library, lower level. This event is graciously hosted by the Bellwood Chamber of Commerce, and is open to the public. Please RSVP to bbonanno@delta-institute.org

Brownfields are abandoned or under-used properties with actual or perceived contamination. With assistance from a USEPA grant, the Cook County Department of Environmental Control is working with Bellwood, Forest Park, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake and Schiller Park to identify sites, conduct environmental assessments, develop cleanup and redevelopment plans. We want to hear from you about potential sites, your views on future uses for sites, and your questions about brownfields or the assessment and cleanup process.

For directions to the library: http://bellwoodlibrary.org/about-the-library/location.html


Brownfield Workshop

Picture of President Preckwinkle speaking at Brownfields workshop
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle talks about her strong commitment to the environment and economic development.On September 24th, the Cook County Department of Environmental Control


On September 24th, The Cook County Department of Environmental Control hosted a workshop designed to help communities gain a better understanding of what a Brownfield is, learn how Brownfield revitalization can be a part of a community’s economic development strategy, and hear from state and national officials about resources available to help with brownfield redevelopment .  More information about the event can be found on Cook County’s Sustainability blog.

Presentations made at the event are available through the links below:

What is a Brownfield and Steps for Successful Redevelopment, Margaret Renas – TAB

Early Steps for Successful Redevelopment Bottom Up Planning, Margaret Renas – TAB

Economic Revitalization through Brownfields – Strategies & Free Resources, Mike Charles – IEPA

Economic Revitalization through Brownfields Strategies & Free Resources, Matt Didier – USEPA

Brownfields Revitalization Resources for Redevelopment, Susan Campbell – Cook County Department of Planning and Development

Matt Didier, USEPA Speaking
Many federal resources are available to help local communities with brownfields redevelopment, explains Matt Didier of USEPA Brownfields Program, Region V.

Funding and Other Assistance

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Brownfields and Land Revitalization – U.S. EPA typically issues annual grants for brownfield planning, assessment, and cleanup activities. Information to apply for grants from the U.S. EPA can be found on their website listed below in Other Resources. 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

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency of Brownfields Assistance (OBA) 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

The CCLBA works to reduce and return vacant land and abandoned buildings back into reliable and sustainable community assets. CCLBA was formed by ordinance of Cook County in 2013 to address the large inventory of vacant residential, industrial and commercial property in Cook County. The ordinance was created after two extensive reports conducted by Cook County and Urban Land Institute. CCLBA is a unit of Cook County government, funded primarily with grants, contributions and revenues from transactions. CCLBA is the largest land bank by geography in the country and is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and the Cook County Board of Commissioners

South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority

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.