The City of Oakland Park has been very successful in securing Voluntary Cleanup Tax Credits (VCTC) from the State of Florida to improve City owned properties. In 1998 the State created the VCTC to encourage cities to conduct voluntary cleanup of certain dry-cleaning solvent contaminations and sites designated as brownfield areas.
Some years ago, the City Commission designated two City-owned properties as brownfield sites. A brownfield site is any real property where the redevelopment or reuse of the land may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.
Brownfield remediation can be accomplished by many methods: Excavation, on-site or in situ treatments, bioremediation, phytoremediation and\or lead and asbestos abatement. Eliminating these pollutants benefits the surrounding communities and makes the properties available for non industrial redevelopment.
Turning Vacant Lots Into Development
There are approximately 450,000 brownfields in the United States. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, can facilitate job growth, and utilizes existing infrastructure.
The two vacant lots on the west side of North Dixie Highway at NE 38th Street (the site of the new Sky Building) and the land the Public Works Facility sits on at NE 38th Street and NE 5th Avenue (the site of the new City Park and Oakland Park Library) were selected for this cleanup. The Public Works Facility is moving to a new location off of E. Commercial Blvd and NE 12th Terrace.
The City committed itself on completing a total remediation of both locations before any redevelopment. The brownfield designation enabled the City to pursue the VCTC from the State which resulted in over $630,000.00 in tax credits. These funds were utilized to assist with the cleanup of the land so that redevelopment could take place. The City plans to seek additional tax credits in 2023.
Improving Local Economy
The ground breaking for the Sky Building took place on December 12th 2022 and construction is anticipated to begin soon. The first phase of the new City Park is open, having held its grand opening on October 26th, 2022 with much fan fare. The second phase is currently in development with the final third phase also in the works.
These cleanup accomplishments positively impact the local economy and quality of life for residents, taking vacant and contaminated properties and returning them to a usable condition.