With an industrial history that dates back to 1893, SouthSide Works was once home to the country’s second largest steel producer. Today, the 34-acre complex is one of the state’s shining examples of brownfield remediation—and at the PA Brownfields Conference, SouthSide Works was recognized for its rebirth.
Conference attendees—some 250 people—submitted their favorite remediation sites of the past 20 years, since Act 2 was signed into legislation. The awards, called the Act 2 Awards, named the winners in 11 categories, including Tech Savvy, What a Mess and What a Gas. SouthSide Works carried the categories Hip, Shop and Tasty.
A massive $265 million remediation project spearheaded by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the SouthSide Works “was recognized by attendees at the conference as one of the outstanding examples of land recycling,” says George Hartenstein, director of the Bureau of Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields.
The other Pittsburgh winner was one of the country’s first brownfield sites to be remediated—Summerset at Frick Park—which got the nod for “Place to Live.”
“This is a project that’s nearing its 20th year from when the Urban Redevelopment Authority purchased the land in 1996 and we were selected as the developer in 1997,” says Craig Dunham, project manager at Summerset at Frick Park.
“We’ve been working hard and consistently with our public partners, which includes the DEP (Pa Department of Environmental Protection),” he says. Getting the recognition that Summerset has become a great place to live “is what we’ve been striving for all these years,” says Dunham.
Act 2, which is formally titled Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling Program, is legislation that helps standardize the remediation and restoration of environmentally contaminated, vacant and underutilized properties.
“These two projects (SouthSide Works ad Summerset) are fantastic large projects that show what we want to accomplish,” says Hartenstein. “Successful redevelopment brings many benefits to the community, creating jobs, housing and services for years to come.”
More than 5,000 sites have been remediated since Act 2 was signed into law in 1995—and there are an estimated 12,000 more brownfields in the state that remain undeveloped.
“Sustainability begins with reusing and recycling old assets,” says Mayor Peduto.
The annual conference, held this year in Erie, is a collaborative between the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.