The Florida Department of Environmental Protection hosted a brownfields symposium this week in Sarasota.
Brownfields are sites considered to be “environmentally contaminated.”
The state wants to spread awareness about its brownfield redevelopment program to local cities and businesses.
The program starts with local municipalities selecting areas that may be potentially contaminated.
The area is then evaluated. If it is contaminated, private companies or cities use a mix of federal grants and state incentives like tax credits to clean up and redevelop sites in the area.
The DEP’s Joseph Ullo said the state wants brownfield projects to be catalysts for local economic growth.
Ullo said the process created 75,000 jobs since it was started in the mid-90s.
“At the end of the day, you see tangible benefits, you see jobs, you see economic benefit,” he said. “You see benefits to the community and you see environmental clean-up happening.”
An August 2015 report said there are almost 380 brownfield areas in the state.
Ullo said repurposing land through the brownfields program may also help with Florida’s rapidly growing population.