Balancing Economic Development with Historic Preservation
Friday, June 24, 2016
8:30 a.m. - 3 a.m. EDT
Portland, CT, United States
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Portland, the community with the longest frontage on the Connecticut River, features both challenging brownfields and a remarkable brownstone heritage. The program will explore how this small town can sustainably re-develop its economy and quality of life by preserving and leveraging its historic and natural resources. The Town Planner will provide an overview of past and present planning efforts as well as issues facing this small town. Land use professionals can take a lesson from Portland as they navigate through the complexities of balancing support for the re-development of a vacant mental health hospital campus to mixed-use while preserving the historical architectural and landscape resources on the site.
The program will include a bus tour which will first travel through the former Elmcrest Hospital site with its historic buildings and mature trees. The tour will travel along the base of the Arrigoni Bridge to Portland’s riverfront, where industrial uses still provide a large piece of Portland’s tax base. The tour will unload at the now famous Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park, situated in the National Historic Landmark Brownstone Quarries. Sean Hayes, President of the Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park leases the properties from the Town. He will share his dream for the future of the quarries to maximize both recreational potential and economic return. He will discuss the balancing act needed and the role planners and landscape architects can play in ensuring a win/win.
The afternoon program will focus on brownfield redevelopment. A local consultant will share the challenges and opportunities uncovered, for the Town’s Brownstone Avenue redevelopment project and the next steps working with the CT State Department of Economic and Community Development. An EPA Project Officer will share her experiences working on similar projects throughout the Northeast, which have successfully integrated archeology with environmental remediation to create development opportunities. The day will wrap up with a presentation by an expert with decades of experience balancing programmatic uses with the need to protect the intrinsic qualities of National Parks and culturally valued public landscapes.
Planners will learn:
- How to anticipate and integrate local input and Plans of Conservation & Development in the development of design alternatives
- How to balance local land use regulations and approvals with the varied needs of potential investors, such as the internal traffic circulation required for retail and the minimum number of residential units
- How to obtain and implement Brownfield Grants in Connecticut
- About 'best practices' employed by the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up Brownfields
- How to accommodate the complex programmatic needs of recreational developments
- How to preserve the intrinsic characteristics of historic properties while designing for modern uses