Volume 12, Issue 33 - Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Developers, engineers, and contractors who are interested in municipal projects should consider monitoring grant funding that is currently being awarded to communities for brownfield projects.
A large percentage of the most recent grant funding is being awarded for remediation of property that is being prepared for rather large community development projects.

As of February 2020, under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program, 31,516 properties had already been assessed and 92,047 acres of idle land has been made ready for productive use. Communities are using brownfield grant funding to attract more revenue for redevelopment. It appears to be working well because more than $31 billion in additional funding has been secured.

In May of 2020, the EPA announced 155 awarded grants totaling $65.6 million for brownfield projects. The funding will flow to communities where parcels of land that could be a target for reuse are ready for remediation of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants. And, interestingly enough, nearly 30 percent of the communities selected for funding are located in designated Opportunity Zones so the properties will be even more attractive to investors because of tax incentives.

An estimated 450,000 brownfields exist in the United States, and redevelopment is a high priority for many regions of the country. Private sector contractors and/or investors interested in public projects will be in high demand and the preferential tax treatment that is available should be a significant incentive.

New York
Officials in the town of Riverhead have announced plans to use $5 million to purchase blighted buildings in an effort to make way for a new town square. The hope is that a public-private partnership initiative can be launched and the redeveloped town square can be connected to the riverfront. The collaborative initiative also will result in another critical objective which is to mitigate long-standing flooding issues. Once the blighted buildings have been removed and the remediation has been completed, officials will begin an effort to secure additional grant funding from Suffolk County and the state for construction of the square. Once that is accomplished, a search will begin for a private-sector partner.

In another part of New York, the city of Rochester has issued a request for qualifications that will remain open through September 28 for a master developer to provide assistance in another redevelopment project. The Bull’s Head neighborhood area in Rochester is ripe for redevelopment, and local officials believe it will qualify as a New York State Brownfield Opportunity. The objective currently underway is to secure the funding and then select a master developer to work with neighborhood stakeholders to finalize all plans for the redevelopment project. There will be an outreach to select private-sector partners once the final plan is completed.

Los Angeles school district plans $7B construction bond election
California – The Los Angeles Unified School District (USD) board of education voted to place a $7 billion school construction bond referendum on the November 3 ballot.

District estimates show $50 billion in unfunded facility needs with more than 70 percent of the district’s school buildings built more than 50 years ago and the majority of its students learning in old and outdated classrooms.

If passed, proceeds will be used to upgrade, modernize, and replace aging and deteriorating school facilities, update technology, and address facilities inequities at approximately 1,100 school campuses.

Of the $7 billion total, almost $3 billion would go toward upgrading or retrofitting old and outdated school campuses, and $1.53 billion would improve deteriorating and outdated school building systems, grounds, furniture, and equipment.

Efforts to upgrade, modernize, and construct charter school facilities would receive $450 million, and the district would spend $405 million to provide schools with technology infrastructure, information systems, hardware, and software.

To ensure accessibility compliance in its buildings, the district would spend $430 million. District safety, security, network, and emergency communications improvements would get $375 million, and $300 million would fund enhancements to learning, wellness, and athletic opportunities.

More than $195 million would be allocated to cafeteria replacements and upgrades, and $130.3 million would be directed to replacing adult and career centers.
Indiana University Health unveils $1.6B medical campus plan
Indiana – The hospital system at Indiana University (IU) Health is combining two of its Indianapolis adult hospitals on an expanded $1.6 billion downtown medical campus.

Preliminary designs for the new hospital call for a building of three glass-fronted towers of about 10 stories with a rooftop helipad and enclosed walkways to nearby buildings. Plans include a parking garage as well.

The multi-tower design can flex to hold up to 576 private patient beds and expansive outpatient care areas. Once renovated, parts of one of the adult hospitals will be connected to the new hospital via walkway and provide additional beds and exam rooms and other clinical space.

Also planned on the campus are research and education facilities for IU School of Medicine to house its physicians, faculty, students, and scientists.

Construction of the 44-acre medical campus expansion is expected to take six years.
FEMA offers $660M in disaster mitigation grants
Washington, D.C. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) posted funding notices that $660 million will be available from the Flood Mitigation Assistance grant and the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant.

The two grant programs will provide funds to states, local communities, tribes, and territories for eligible mitigation projects that will reduce future disaster losses.

These organizations are eligible for $160 million from the Flood Mitigation Assistance program up to $30 million per community flood mitigation project.

As a replacement for FEMA’s existing Pre-Disaster Mitigation program, the new $500 million BRIC grant program provides incentives for:
  • Public infrastructure projects; 
  • Projects that mitigate risk to one or more lifelines; 
  • Projects that incorporate nature-based solutions; and, 
  • Adoption and enforcement of modern building codes. 

Up to $50 million is available to applicants in the national competition for BRIC grants.

The application period opens on September 30, and submissions for both programs are due by January 29, 2021.
New York City RFP seeks new wave of public building designers
New York – The city of New York is seeking design firms to develop the next generation of its public buildings through two requests for proposals (RFPs).

The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) will identify up to 30 firms to provide architectural and technical design services under the agency’s Project Excellence Program.

DDC’s Project Excellence Program (previously known as Design and Construction Excellence) pre-qualifies firms to provide design services for its public building projects, reducing the time required to procure design services.

For the program’s next round, which will begin during a time of fiscal restraint because of the COVID-19 pandemics, the agency will seek to contract for three years with up to 20 firms for architectural design services, including for new construction and major renovations, and up to 10 firms for technical design services, which can include structural, MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing), historic preservation, envelope, roof, and landscape design.

Firms responding to the RFPs will be categorized according to the size of their professional staffs. DDC encourages participation by minority- and women-owned businesses.

A virtual pre-proposal conference is scheduled for August 17. Responses to the architectural design services RFP are due by September 4, and responses to the technical design services RFP are due by September 25.
FTA to award $464M to bus infrastructure projects
Washington, D.C. - The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will award $464 million in transit infrastructure grants nationwide to improve the safety and reliability of America’s bus systems and enhance mobility for transit riders.

A total of 96 projects in 49 states and territories will receive funding from FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program.

Some notable projects receiving grants are:
  • Colorado - $11.48 million to renovate and expand Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s maintenance facility into a centrally located regional center housing operations, maintenance, and administration; 
  • Florida- $9.02 million to purchase new buses for Collier Area Transit and to rehabilitate its existing operations and maintenance building; 
  • Georgia - $13 million to construct a new Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) multi-purpose operations and maintenance bus facility in Clayton County; 
  • Illinois - $10 million to construct a new Greater Peoria Mass Transit District (CityLink) operations and maintenance facility as well as upgrade existing facilities and implement new transit technologies; 
  • Michigan - $13.38 million for the construction of a new headquarters and transfer station for the Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA); 
  • New Jersey - $14.67 million to rehabilitate the New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) Wayne Bus Maintenance Facility in Passaic County; and,
  • Texas - $14.77 million to the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) to replace legacy fare payment systems used by regional transit providers in the Houston area. 

Demand for FTA’s program exceeded available funds, as the agency received 282 applications totaling approximately $1.8 billion in funding requests from 51 states and territories.
North Carolina port authority embarks on capital projects
North Carolina – Spurred by year-over-year increases at the ports of Wilmington and Morehead City, North Carolina State Ports Authority is advancing several projects included in its $200 million capital improvements plan (CIP).

As the Ports Authority moves into Fiscal Year 2021, the agency is developing a container terminal master plan which will increase the Port of Wilmington’s annual throughput capacity to more than 1 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) as well as the building of a new container truck gate complex. These projects will enable NC Ports to meet the demand of increased volume on container moves.

The Ports Authority also will continue to press forward with the long-term Wilmington Navigational Harbor Improvement Project (WNHIP) aimed at deepening and widening the shipping channel. The project now sits with the U.S. Congress. WNHIP must receive Congressional approval before any formal construction can begin.
ODOT prepares series of projects to widen Interstate 40
Oklahoma – A series of proposed projects will reconstruct and widen Interstate 40 in Pottawatomie County to increase the interstate’s traffic carrying capacity, extend pavement service life, and replace deteriorated bridges.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) proposes reconstruction of I-40 to six lanes to continue interstate widening underway in Oklahoma County to complete the expanded corridor between Oklahoma City and Shawnee.

Three roundabouts are proposed on State Highway 102 North/McLoud Road at the I-40 on- and off-ramps and a new frontage road on the north side of I-40. Additionally, the existing county bridges on Arena Road and Stevens Road-Blackberry Road over I-40 would be removed as part of proposed interstate widening.

The first project to be built will be the middle of the three projects, which begins approximately one-half mile west of the SH-102 North/McLoud Road interchange and extends east approximately 2.2 miles to a location west of the SH-102 South interchange. This project is scheduled to begin construction in 2022.

Second, ODOT would begin work on the west project which begins at the Pottawatomie/Oklahoma County Line and extends east approximately 2.5 miles. This project is scheduled to begin construction in 2023.

The project at the east end of the corridor, from the SH-102 South Interchange east approximately 2.7 miles to the U.S. 177 interchange, is planned to be the last project built in 2026.

The eight-year plan has $77 million included for these three projects and the acquisition of additional right-of-way; the relocation of utilities to clear construction is anticipated.
Knoxville considering P3 for mixed-use stadium development
Tennessee – City of Knoxville economic development officials are exploring possibilities for a public-private partnership to build a mixed-used development anchored by a new baseball stadium.

The owner of a minor league baseball team that played in Knoxville until 1999 has met informally with Knoxville leaders to discuss a stadium concept.

City leaders are researching how other cities have approached publicly financed stadium projects. The team owner, who owns land in the Old City section of Knoxville, is modeling his proposal on private developments featuring residential, retail, and restaurants around baseball stadiums.
Illinois allocates $103.5M for community college construction
Illinois – The state of Illinois will award $103.5 million from the Rebuild Illinois capital plan to 15 community colleges to expand existing facilities and construct new buildings, among other projects.

Projects at the colleges include entirely new and expanded training facilities, classroom and laboratory renovations, new utilities, and repaving of streets and parking lots.

Harper College was awarded $42 million for the construction of the Student One Stop Center, also known as the Canning Center. The facility would house an admissions and campus student life center that modernizes and consolidates student support services.

Because it has been several years since the Illinois Community College Board added the project to its capital list in 2000 and approved funding in 2010, Harpers College plans to update the scope of work and establish a new timeline.

The other community colleges receiving funding are:
  • McHenry County College in Crystal Lake/McHenry County: $15.8 million for a new 52,000-square-foot career, technical, and manufacturing center; 
  • Lincoln Trail College (Illinois Eastern Community Colleges) in Robinson/Crawford County: $8.4 million for construction of a technology center, providing classroom and laboratory space for several of its technical programs; 
  • Spoon River College in Macomb/McDonough County: $6.1 million to expand and renovate the Taylor and Centers buildings at its Macomb campus, which house career and technical education and nursing programs; 
  • Rend Lake College in Ina/Jefferson County: $5.3 million for a new allied health building, including classrooms and laboratories; 
  • Morton College in Cicero/Cook County: $4.9 million for parking lot expansion and lot, road and walkway replacements, including lighting and landscaping; 
  • John A. Logan College in Carterville/Williamson County: $3.8 million for an 8,200-square-foot, two-story expansion of the west lobby building; 
  • Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield/Sangamon County: $3.8 million to renovate and expand the student services center in Menard Hall; 
  • College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn/DuPage County: $3.3 million for grounds and retention pond improvements including bank stabilization of three ponds and construction of observation platforms; 
  • Danville Area Community College in Danville/Vermilion County: $2.3 million to remodel 32,500 square feet at the Clock Tower Center and for rehabilitation of Ornamental Horticulture Building, including additions to the greenhouse; 
  • Olney Central College (Illinois Eastern Community Colleges) in Olney/ Richland County: $2.3 million for an applied technology center for allied health field instruction and increased computer labs; 
  • Shawnee Community College in Ullin/Pulaski County: $2 million for HVAC upgrades in buildings H and I on its main campus; 
  • Southeastern Illinois College in Carmi/White County: $1.7 million for development of a vocational building at an extension campus site in Carmi on land donated by the city;  
  • Triton College in River Grove/Cook County: $1.7 million for new energy efficient windows at its four-line buildings; and, 
  • Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg/Knox County: $422,700 for road resurfacing on a portion of Tom L. Wilson Boulevard on campus. 

In addition to $103.5 million in state funding, the 15 community colleges will receive an additional $34.5 million in local investments, bringing total funding for these projects to $138 million.
Miami Airport to pursue solicitation for $33M fumigation facility
Florida – Although it is delaying major terminal expansions, Miami International Airport is pursuing $5 billion in capital projects, including construction of a new $33 million fumigation and cold chain processing center.

The Miami-Dade Airport Department and PortMiami are negotiating a partnership to build the new consolidated cargo facility on airport land.

Officials are planning the joint-use facility to replace undersized fumigation facilities at the airport and a demolished facility at the seaport.

This facility will support the safe flow of agricultural and food products free of pests and diseases, domestically and internationally. Perishables offloaded at PortMiami are transported to ports in the Northeast United States for inspection and treatment and then trucked back to South Florida.

A final airport recommendation from 2017 advised building one fumigation facility in two phases. Phase 1 of the facility would be 104,000 square feet, and Phase 2 would be 149,000 square feet.

A competitive solicitation is planned for a project development deal.
USDA to provide $462M in assistance to water, wastewater projects
Washington, D.C. - Rural water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the country will benefit from $462 million in financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The agency is funding 161 projects that will improve the infrastructure that provides safe drinking water and wastewater management facilities in small towns and cities.

USDA will loan $53.58 million to the Southern Iowa Rural Water Association to construct a 6 million gallons per day (MGD) water treatment plant, transmission main piping, a new elevated storage tank, and other improvements.

Some other projects being funded are:
  • The city of Dunsmuir, California, will receive a $7.93 million loan and a $2.28 million grant to replace and upgrade the city’s water distribution system. This project will include replacing 25,000-feet of failing, problematic waterlines and 40 new fire hydrants; 
  • Mississippi’s Alcorn County Water Association will get a $7.28 million loan and $4.03 million grant to make improvements to the water system including water treatment plants, distribution system, and replacement of meters. 
  • In North Bend, Washington, the Sallal Water Association will use a $6.5 million loan to construct a reservoir, a new headquarters building and a new well; 
  • Florida’s Charlotte Harbor Water Association will use a $6.15 million loan and a $4.5 million grant to make improvements and increase capacity by rehabilitating and expanding its water treatment facility; and,
  • The Sanbornville Precinct in New Hampshire will use a $2.9 million loan and a $695,885 grant to upgrade the source pump house facility and replace 2.3 miles of failing bituminous-coated steel water mains. 

Funds will come from the USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program.
Scottsdale designing pair of multi-use sports field complexes
Arizona – The city of Scottsdale is designing a $40 million multi-use sports field project approved by voters in 2019.

This project includes land acquisition, design, and construction of the Bell Road Sports Complex featuring up to six, lighted multi-use fields on Bell Road, just east of 94th Street, and up to seven, lighted multi-use fields at the WestWorld Sports Complex at Thompson Peak Parkway and McDowell Mountain Ranch Road.

Both locations will include parking lots, restrooms, and maintenance facilities to support the recreation users and limited neighborhood amenities for park users.

The Bell Road Sports Complex will be the first to be built. The design team is working on an initial layout for the facility, which they are presenting in a virtual public meeting through August 31. Design work will take approximately a year to complete.

The second phase of the project will focus on the WestWorld Sports Complex. Proposed plans include up to seven fields at this location. The majority of the land at this location is already owned by the Bureau of Reclamation and is managed by the city, but the city is currently working on acquiring more land to have space for all seven fields.

Once that is complete, formal design will begin. If the city is unsuccessful in acquiring the additional land, it will need to find an alternate location for the remaining fields.

Project costs include purchasing land, designing, and constructing necessary reclaimed water, sewer and drainage improvements, and service lines to accommodate water delivery to the recreation fields. Additionally, any unimproved street frontages, sidewalks, and other amenities will be completed as a requirement of improving the fields.
Tennessee – The city of Hendersonville selected Carmen Davis to be its first city administrator, pending contract approval. She would take over for Interim City Administrator Dave LeMarbre. Davis most recently served as county administrator in Hinds County, Mississippi. Prior to that, she worked for the city of Detroit, Michigan as a city planner.

Georgia – Gwinnett County Administrator Glenn Stephens named Dorothy Parks as the county’s new Information Technology Services (ITS) director and chief information officer. Parks previously served as assistant director. She joined ITS as deputy director over enterprise applications.

Massachusetts – Marcelo Suárez-Orozco assumed the role of chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston on August 1. He took over for Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman. Prior to coming to UMass Boston, Suárez-Orozco held leadership positions at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Harvard University, and New York University.

North Carolina – Fayetteville City Manager Douglas Hewett appointed Toney Coleman as director of the Fayetteville Regional Airport. Coleman has been serving as the airport’s interim director since Bradley Whited retired in April. Coleman previously served as the airport’s deputy director and 25 years as an Army Reserve and Active Duty Aviation, and Special Operations Officer.

Washington – The city of Walla Walla selected Preston Frederickson as the new director of its Development Services Department. He took over for Elizabeth Chamberlain who became Walla Walla’s deputy city manager. Frederickson previously served as assistant city attorney, deputy prosecutor, and civil attorney for all city departments.

Colorado – The city of Boulder named Erika Vandenbrande as its new director of transportation and mobility, effective September 7. Most recently, Vandenbrande served as the director of planning and community development for the city of Redmond, Washington. Prior to that, she was Redmond’s deputy city administrator and transportation demand management manager. 
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