From Obstacles to Opportunity


“There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

George Bernard Shaw

When you picture what you love about your community, the elements that come to mind are likely the people who live there, the places you like to visit, and the features that make it unique. But undeveloped or abandoned properties can cloud that picture. Every community has at least one property where nothing ever seems to happen. Do you find yourself envisioning  the potential of those areas in your neighborhood? Could those sites be reimagined as a new location for your favorite local business, or a splash pad or rock-climbing park? Maybe you’ve thought of how reuse could meet a community need like a grocery store in an underserved area, a transit hub, or an access point reconnecting the community with a local creek. Brownfield redevelopment can play a significant role in bringing your ideas and visions to life.   

At Stantec, we think of brownfields as opportunity sites, and we see revitalization opportunities all around us. Sometimes they are obvious – a closed gas station or a shuttered mill. But they are often hiding in plain sight. Smaller vacant or underused lots represent opportunities for in-fill development bringing jobs and services to established neighborhoods. Vacant buildings may present challenges like asbestos or lead paint, and cleanup may unlock the potential to introduce affordable housing or a business that brings jobs and economic prosperity. 

Words like “revitalization”, “improvement”, or even the word “brownfield” itself may be interpreted as implying that a community is deficient in some way. Stantec’s mission is to help you rethink this perspective by connecting the identification and reuse of brownfield sites with opportunities to enhance what you love about your community. When you identify a brownfield site, you have found an opportunity to invest in your community, to showcase and build on its unique character and assets.   

A community with a robust brownfield program is one that sees and celebrates its assets and potential. Communities who champion brownfield reuse are empowered with tools and resources to define what livability means to them. Stantec’s planners, environmental scientists, engineers, and real estate experts help communities craft a vision for reuse of brownfields large and small. We partner with local governments, communities, property owners, and developers to acquire funding, solve complex problems, and shepherd sites to their highest and best uses. We help communities tackle barriers that have previously prevented these opportunities from being realized, and then make plans for the future of the places we call home. 

Photo Caption: The Hotel St. Cloud, Cañon City, Colorado


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