Revitalization of small town community : a brownfield redevelopment study of the former Keller Manufacturing site in Corydon, Indiana

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Wendelin, Sara M.
Cruz, German T.
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Thesis (M.L.A.)
Department of Landscape Architecture
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This creative project studies the potential that brownfield redevelopment can have on revitalization efforts in small towns and rural areas. Three key research questions guide the study: What is a brownfield and why is it difficult to redevelop them? What approaches can be used to overcome the problem of brownfield redevelopment, specifically in small cities? and How can design apply methods that allow the redevelopment of a brownfield to play a part in community revitalization?Part II and Part III compose the main body of the project. Part II defines brownfields as "Real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant." The brownfield dilemma is part of the larger problem of urban decline and suburban sprawl and has many causes. A lack of environmental contributed to the formation of the brownfield problem. Other factors include changes in the global economic system, and the effects of environmental laws. CERCLA, an act enforced through the EPA, has had a particularly strong impact on the sale and redevelopment of industrial real-estate. Growing stocks of brownfields are contributing to economic, environmental, and socio-cultural problems across the country. Because the available financial resources, the culture, and the people of small towns are different from large urban areas, the brownfield problems of small towns are different. However, brownfields hold promising advantages, even for small towns when they are properly integrated into revitalization efforts. Although it is important for these efforts to be focused at the local level, success is ultimately determined by the quantity and quality of regional networking and involvement in state level programs such as voluntary cleanup programs.Key methods and strategies can also be used to help ensure the success of a brownfield as a revitalization catalyst. Raising local awareness and funding, an inventory of the area's brownfield problem, planning and outreach, environmental site assessments, clean up, and choosing appropriate end-uses are the basic steps of the process. One of the most vital elements of this process is involving the community in every step. It is especially important to have heavy public involvement in choosing the end-uses for the new development. End-uses such as public parks, waterfront development, museums, community centers, and other facilities supporting a strong civic network are shown to act as catalysts for the revitalization of surrounding commercial areas.Part III of this study discusses concepts from the design theory of multi-use and infill developments, and public and civic space design. A discussion about the Keller Manufacturing site then leads to the formation of a master plan for the redevelopment of the site. This master plan serves as an example brownfield site redevelopment in a small town.