Green Lancaster header displaying a picture of an Amish buggy, and corn field, horses in a field, cows being milked, and windmills.



Lancaster County is striving to make use of unviable land


Brownfields Across the Nation Today

Lets Go Local: Brownfields in Lancaster County

Miguel’s Nightclub

Ephrata Manufacturing Company

Posey Iron Works

Norfolk Southern-Dillerville Yard Consolidation Project

Roberto Clemente Park: A Brownfield Success Story


My Personal Thoughts

A Special Thanks Goes to……


What are Brownfields?

Brownfield sites are pieces of land that were once deemed unuseable but are given the opportunity of redevelopment, reuse, or expansion. Developers and the Government can work together to get these sites cleaned up and made for commercial, residential and industrial purposes. Just like recycling allows us to reuse bottles, cans, and paper; Brownfield programs allow us to reuse land.

It can be much more difficult than it sounds. Often time’s properties aren’t always easy to clean up. Harmful pollutants, contaminants, and hazardous substances affect many sites. Properties have to go through an intensive clean up process.

Some of the more common Brownfields are gas stations, dry cleaners, manufacturing plants, and junkyards. Brownfield locations can actually be considered real estate transactions; they are real properties----just filled with containments. Like real estate properties, they are influenced by codes, changes in the market, and spending on infrastructure.

Some Important Things to Know

Phase I
Phase I is the initial assessment of the site. This is essentially the first part of cleaning up the site. This is where a history of the site is compiled and the environmental hazards are identified. Interviews with past owners of the site is also quite common. One company that does these kinds of assessments is e Phase Inc. To learn more about e Phase check out their website

Phase II
This phase is a much more thorough analysis than identified above. At this phase:

  • Soil boring and collection is done
  • Water monitoring wells are put in
  • Water samples are collected
  • All samples are then analyzed

Not All sites will even get to a Phase II. It all depends on the level of contaniments.

Phase III
This is the phase where an action plan is developed and implemented. Property owners are given a release from liability through ACT 2.
ACT 2 (Voluntary Cleanup Program)
This is a Pennsylvania program that encourages the  the voluntary cleanup and reuse of contaminated commercial and industrial sites. This program is based around 4 principles that breakdown potential redevelopment obstacles:

  • Uniform cleanup standards
  • Liability relief
  • Standardized reviews and time limits
  • Financial assistance
This Program allows an owner or purchaser of a Brownfield site to choose any one or combination of cleanup standards to steer redevelopment. To learn more about this program check out the Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection (PADEP) webpage on the program at:

Brownfields Across the Nation Today

I had the opportunity to take part of a webinar that explained some of the Brownfield plans that are taking place across the country. Its important to see the scope that Brownfield programs have, they aren’t just taking place in Lancaster, its happening all across the United States. You can view the webinar slides, as well as the audio portion of the presentation at:

To view a deeper explanation of the plans for the Brownfield sites mentioned below view this fact sheet:

Today there are as many as 500,000 Brownfield sites across the nation. Even though Brownfield programs have been active since 1992, projects have been increasing due to:

      • A strong developer community
      • A wider range of reuse opportunities
      • The preferences of the consumers
      • Technical and financial assistance being more widely and readily available

There will be over 90 million dollars in Brownfield grant funds for next year
There are also multiple Grant Programs being offered that include site inventory, assessment and clean-Up; a revolving Loan Fund, and job-training .

The types of Grants available include:

  • Department of) Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Planning Grants & Local Challenge Grants
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Area Wide Planning Program

Partnership for Sustainable Communities ensures that federal investments, policies, and actions do not support the spread of cities, but instead support development in more efficient and sustainable locations.

With this partnership between the EPA, DOT, and HUD 5 pilot cities were chosen:
Boston, Massachusetts; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; Iowa City, Iowa and National City, California

Each agency has a different set of responsibilities within this partnership.


Addresses the needs of the community such as:

  • Creating and sustaining affordable housing.
  • Providing access to mass transit.
  • Improving the quality of air and water.
  • Providing access to fresh food that is locally grown.
  • Providing energy efficiency improvements; renewable energy strategies; and access to green space for recreation.


  • Identify how these pilot cities can build on both past and future investments
  • Identify opportunities to bring the proper resources based on how the pilot projects progress.

Pilot Projects

Boston, Massachusetts
Fairmount Line- There have been many organizations in and around the Boston area that have cleaned up Brownfields along this rail line. The pilot program will create a TOD village on a former Brownfield site. The community has strong support for cleaning up and redeveloping more sites across the area. HUD, DOT, and the EPA will work hard to develop sites that will keep residents from being removed from their homes. The creation of affordable housing is planned as well.

Indianapolis, Indiana
Smart Growth Redevelopment District- The community plans to redevelop sites for urban agriculture, green infrastructure, affordable housing, and commercial development.
The two areas that will be worked include:

  • A former rail yard that will be used to support urban agriculture.
  • Two former maintenance facilities that will be used for affordable and supportive housing.

Each site will use environment design components, neighborhood strategies, and an implementation plan to make redevelopment a success.

Iowa City, Iowa
Riverfront Crossings District- The plan is to redevelop sites to create an urban neighborhood close to a potential light rail stop. Some of the development plans include:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Ground floor office and retail space
  • Entertainment and Recreational buildings
  • Creating Streetscapes
  • Walking trails and open space along the Iowa River

Long-term plans will be put in place to develop a strategy to spot, clean up, and redevelop these sites. Federal aid will also help the community redevelop an area that has be affected by recent flooding.

Denver, Colorado
La Alma/South Lincoln Park- Redevelopment will include:

  • The design and construction of Green Buildings
  • Management of storm water
  • The creation of green jobs
  • The promotion of energy efficiency
  • The promotion of water efficient buildings

HUD has put $10 million dollars worth of grants toward this project.      

National City, California
Affordable Housing will be put into The Westside Neighborhood along with a focus on improving mass transit. This neighborhood is suffering from an environmental crisis. This low-income neighborhood is producing 389 polluters per square mile. A sustainability and financial plan will be put into action across the 14-acre neighborhood. The sustainability plan will:

  • Help the city gain resources to clean the site up.
  • Provide access to a light rail station.
  • Create open space.
  • Improve one of the local creeks.
  • Create 201 units of affordable housing.

Lets Go Local: Brownfields in Lancaster County

There are many Brownfield properties all across Lancaster County. Developers have come in and made use of these properties that were once deemed unusable. Our Federal government has given out all sorts of aid to help with development.

The process is rather simple. A group of people in the community or an individual can go and submit a proposal to the government to issue a grant to help pay for some of the clean up costs. There have also been instances where private companies have paid for clean up costs as well.
Once the clean up process is complete building developers can then step in to either remodel a building on the property, or even put up a completely new property.

Typically these are commercial properties but Brownfield sites can be used for residential and private purposes too. Here is a look at some former Brownfield sites in Lancaster that have been completely transformed.

The first two sites only went up through the Phase I analysis. These are condensed versions of the reports provided by ePhase Inc.

Pictured Provided by Mary



Miguel’s Nightclub

One Brownfield site that is currently being worked on is Miguel’s Nightclub and Restaurant located at 902 S Duke Street. This site is far from completion and is in the initial stages of redevelopment. The company, e Phase Inc, conducted an environmental assessment of the site.Miguel’s Nightclub is a 1.5-acre site located in the southern portion of Lancaster city. The site includes both one and two story buildings that were previously used as mixed-use commercial and residential buildings.

In addition there is a fenced-in area that is being taken over by vegetation, a parking lot, a large field, and a wooded area located at the back of the property. The site has not been in use since 2007. In 1982 a second story was added to one of the buildings. At the time it was used as a restaurant with a drive through window.

Miguel Collado purchased the site in 1987 where he converted the site to a nightclub. A one-story addition was made between the two-story building and the neighboring garage. Mr. Collado also operated a car dealership, More or Less Autos, on the site as well.

The Site Historically

Records show that there may have been a sawmill at the location, possibly as recently as 1864. The mill was demolished in 1886 when the site remained underdeveloped. In 1940 a road was built through the center of the site. This road separated the site into eastern and western portions. Around the time where the road was built the site had residential buildings put up on the western side and commercial building were put up on the eastern side of the property.

In 1947 one of the commercial buildings housed a cabinet shop and an automobile wrecking facility was put up. The south and south eastern portions of the property were used as a junkyard that expanded to the sites entire eastern half from 1956 to 1964. By 1971 the site was entirely cleared out except for a few cars. In 1978 all of the buildings were demolished and the site left unused until the property was 1982.

The sites location is in a mixed use residential/commercial/retail section of town. It sits near Lancaster County park, Tony’s cleaner and Laundromat, Riverview cemetery, Fulton Bank, and Family dollar. The goal of the ESA was to evaluate conditions of the property and identify possible recognized environmental conditions (RECs) or historical recognized environmental conditions (HRECs).




The auto wrecking facilities handled and generated large quantities of oil, gasoline, and antifreeze. This caused a general concern because there is a risk of these harmful volotile organic compounds (VOCs) running into the soil. A soil boring indicated that some semi VOCs were present. Whatever this site would be used for in the future there would have to be no pathways for these VOCs to surface.

Environmental Concerns

Due to the Dry cleaning businesses near by that use chlorinated solvents there is a risk of the site being affected by hazardous substances.
Radon reports close to the site indicate a range of 4.7 to 34.2 pCi/L. This is quite a bit more than the EPA’s limit of 4.0. It is possible that the site could be affected by radon.

Interview Findings

Mr. Chuck Maneval (CEO of SACA Development Corporation) was informed by residents that the site was used for illegal dumping purposes.
Miguel Collado informed e phase inc that there was fill dirt that was  used for construction of one of the buildings. He had limited knowledge of what the site was originally used for and was unaware of the potential environmental hazards.

Nelson Polite (longtime Lancaster Resident) informed e Phase that the illegal dumping mainly occurred northwest of the site near Chesapeake Road. He also added that Armstrong World Industries disposed of waste on the southern portions of the site near Lancaster County Park.

Ephrata Manufacturing Company

This site is made up of 2.5 acres of land located at the intersection of Pine and Duke Streets in Ephrata, PA. The site is unoccupied at the moment and includes a 55k sq. ft. manufacturing building. There is also a paved parking lot as well as a storage yard, residual waste dumpsters, propane above ground storage tanks (ASTs), as well as a wooded area located in the northeastern portion of the site.

The area is located within a mixed zoning area of residential, light industrial, and institutional areas. The current owner of the site is Ephrata National bank. They bought the property through special warranty deed as an alternative to foreclosure.

The Site Historically

Between 1922 and July 2006 the site was home to Ephrata Manufacturing Company (EMCO). EMCO manufactured over 25,000 Tensile Gray Iron Castings used for industrial plumbing supplies, decorative iron work, and other assorted machine parts. Some of the work that was done on the site included sand preparation/molding, core preparation, mold pouring, and casting machining. The inside of the production building was used for machine maintenance, material storage, tool storage, chemical storage, a foundry casting floor, a locker room/shower area, ladle firing and repair room, sludge collection room, a sand mixing and casting cleaning room, and a core production room.

The storage yard was used for storing a lot of raw materials including pig iron, scrap iron, limestone, and silicon briquettes. The yard also houses a 170 gallon gasoline AST, a 275 gallon kerosene AST, a 230 gallon diesel fuel AST, and two 1000 gallon propane ASTs to operate the company’s trucks.
It is also important to add that there are transformers, empty sludge collection tubs and dumpsters that use to store hazardous residual and municipal waste. In addition there were four heating oil underground storage tanks USTs removed sometime between 2006 and 2008 with evidence to suggest that they left VOCs.

There was roughly 12,000 tons of non-hazardous sand produced annually. The sand was dumped in the northeastern part of the property until 1989 when the PADEP ordered them to store it in an onsite dumpster.





There were numerous environmental concerns that go along with this sites history. There have been many years of land filling hazardous waste and there have also been evidence of heavy metal contamination. This poses a great danger of groundwater being affected.
Arsenic is another VOC that has been identified in the southwestern portion of the site.


  • There was a 25-gallon waste fuel spill in 2003. It was most likely diesel fuel.

Other Significant Environmental Concerns

  • There was a sludge collection room used for the holding and management of hazardous waste including RCRA metals for 30 plus years.
      • A former septic system and well.
      • Floor Staining/discoloration, cracked flooring.
      • The storage, use, and generation of substances and petroleum products due to the operation of the foundry/machine shop for the past 80 years.
      • There was also possible disposal of scrubber wastewater and sludge that could pose a great concern.
      • Asbestos is a possibility within some of the buildings.



Interview Findings

ePhase Inc. interviewed Mr. Bob Thompson, the Director of Engineering and Public Works for the Borough of Ephrata. During the interview he said that he was unaware of REC’s other than except for the sand/sludge dumping area and arsenic in the soil.
There was no experienced loss of property value due to environmental issues.

Posey Iron Works

This site is located at 560 South Prince Street right in Lancaster City. An abandoned railway was located on the western side of the facility. This area is also part of Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ). KOZs are designated properties found all across the state of Pennsylvania that gives developers substantial local and state tax breaks. To learn more about KOZs head to

The Site Historically

In 1891 the northestern part of the site was used as a distillery. In 1897 the distillery was transformed into a sawing and planing mill, which became known as the Lancaster Planing Mill Company. The company occupied one building on the site, the building was used to cut lumber.

In 1912 the site became known as the Lancaster Iron Works Facility and by around 1950 the site became known as Posey Iron Works. Under their ownership a 9,700 sq. ft. office building and a warehouse was constructed. Mr. James Speital owned the property since 1985.


A Phase I assessment was performed in June of 1994 by Steckbeck Engineering Associates. At the time the site was a mix of commercial/office and light industrial spaces, so the release of hazardous substances was of minimal concern. The ESA all showed that there was no record of past environmental problems at the site.

In July 2000 a Phase II investigation was performed by the Public Service Commission (PSC). The railroad was also part of the investigation to see if additional action would need to take place. Soil Samples were taken to perform an analysis for VOCs, SVOCs, pollutant metals, and Polychlorinated Biphenyl concentrations (PCBs). None of the soil samples exceeded environmental standards.

Posey Iron Works Today

This site is now the home of Kevin Lehman’s Pottery. A graduate of Millersville University in May of 2000, he started his own pottery business in his backyard. The building houses studios where artists can teach classes and work on projects.
To learn more about Kevin Lehman’s Pottery or find out about taking a pottery c lass head to

Norfolk Southern-Dillerville Yard Consolidation Project

This is an exciting project started by Franklin and Marshall (F&M) College and Lancaster General that will bring in new economic development opportunities and improve environmental conditions in Lancaster. This project will consolidate Norfolk Southern’s Dillerville Rail Yard eastern most portion over to a site behind the US Post Office located off of Harrisburg Pike.

When the consolidation is complete F&M and Lancaster General will clean up the eastern portion of the yard and redevelop it. This includes putting in a variety of public infrastructure as well as connecting Liberty Street to College Avenue and Charlotte Street to Armstrong Boulevard. 

The project will include four stages:

The construction of a new rail facility
It will be located just north of the Norfolk Southern tracks right behind Harrisburg Pike. Construction was completed this past summer.

The remodeling of the existing rail yard
The main portion of the Dillerville Rail Yard will be remodeled. A private bridge for Norfolk Southern Vehicles will be built off of Harrisburg Pike as well as new offices. Construction should be done in late 2012.

Development of current rail yard
As soon as the work above is complete F&M and Lancaster General will begin work on revitalizing the property.
If you are interested on learning more about this project and view updates visit:
If you have any specific questions about the project you can email them directly at

Roberto Clemente Park: A Brownfield Success Story

The Renovation of Roberto Clemente Park was a long time coming. About 30 years ago commercial and residential properties were cleared out to make way for Martin Luther King Elementary, the schools playground, and a baseball field. Years of neglect and poverty in the surrounding area had a negative effect on the park. The park became a vandalized, trash ridden eye sore.

Then in 1997 Lancaster’s Inner City Group (ICG) began to work with members of the community to improve the plot of land. Along with the Lancaster County Planning Commission they were able to get this project under way. The site analysis was carried out following an EPA approved Sampling and Analysis plan as well as the SIA provisions of Pennsylvania’s Act 2.

Redevelopment of this park was important to this neighborhood. This part of town has been known for its high crime rate for many years. The neighborhood needed something to take pride in. I believe, and I can guarantee the ICG would agree, that for a community to improve its quality creating a recreational area that is well maintained is a step in the right direction.

Roberto Clemente Park was just the beginning of a larger plan to improve the South Duke Street area. The ICG was able to gain $875,700 dollars in park development programming through a combination of grants, tax credits, and direct technical assistance. Although the ICG started began preliminary work in 1997 the project didn’t get going until January 1999 and it reached completion in May of 2005. Here is a brief timeline of the process:

1999- The ICG and the community develop a plan for the site.

2000- Architects began putting together plans. Soil borings were done to look for the historical fill materials in the soil.

2001- The Lancaster Planning Commission was approached for assistance in the environmental study. The project was approved into the County’s Brownfield Assessment Demonstration Pilot.

2002- Phase I begins and the environmental risks were identified.
            Grant Funds were approved by the EPA.

2003- Site Characterization is completed.

2005- The site is completed and finally dedicated!

To see a visual of what the park went through make sure you check out the iMovie provided on this page.
To learn about the grant that the ICG received for the park, The Phoenix Award, or to submit an application go to:


These are just a small handful of Brownfield projects in the County. The Lancaster County Planning Commission is currently working on a web directory for people looking to sell or lease land and for developers looking to redevelop, relocate, or expand.

The Commission has been putting the US EPA Smart Growth Grant to good use by working on places all over the community. To learn more about the plans the Commission has for this grant money check out their webpage:

My Personal Thoughts

I have lived in Lancaster for the past 10 years of my life. In this time I have seen this city go through a transformation. Before I lived here, there was no Clipper Magazine Stadium or convention center. If it weren’t for the Brownfield programs, Lancaster City would not have a baseball team or the many potential opportunities that the convention center brings. Lancaster County really has made good use of the grant money the County has received. Projects like Roberto Clemente Park give the children a save place to go and play. People will start to come to Lancaster for more reasons than just to see the Amish.

I’ve learned that Brownfield programs are not just important to Lancaster County but the nation as a whole. Since the economic crash a few years ago more and more businesses have been forced to downsize, relocate, and shutdown. The economy has slowly begun to turn its self around the past few years. Brownfield programs across the nation will help play a roll in the economic upturn. It will occur as a chain effect.

As more Brownfield sites are worked on the more development will occur. This will cause new businesses to move back in to urban areas. As new business begin to develop this will generate more job opportunities for people. Since more people will be working and making money, more money will be put back into the economy Its also important to remember that Brownfield sites are not just used for commercial purposes, but residential purposes as well. More and more people will be able to get to these new jobs because new residences will be established.

The economy is not the only thing that will see improvements. The environment will improve as well. Since our population is forever increasing, urban expansion has been a problem in many cities. Brownfields will help slow down aggressive urban expansion by freeing up land that was once unusable.
Due to new inner city housing more people will begin to use more public transportation. This also means that fewer forests will be cut down, fewer animals will be displaced, and more of our natural wonders will be left in tact.

The development that has occurred in the past few years has made me excited to see what new projects will occur in the future.

A Special Thanks Goes to……

Mary Gattis-Schell
Senior Environmental Planner for The Lancaster Planning Commission
Provided the information about Roberto Clemente Park, The EMCO site, as well as plenty of pictures. All pictures with *** were provided by Ms. Gattis-Schell.

All other photos were provided by Ryan Hagan

Charles H. Maneval
Chief Operating Officer of The Spanish American Civic Assoociation Development Corporation
Provided the information about Miguels Nightclub, as well as giving me a short driving tour of former Brownfield sites.

Keith Orris
Senior Vice President of Community & Government Affairs at Lancaster General Health
Provided me with valuable information about the Act II program.

Randy Patterson
Economic Development & Neighborhood Revitalization - City of Lancaster
Gave me valuable insight about Brownfield programs as well as giving me information about Posey Ironworks.


















This site was created by Ryan Hagan at Millersville University of Pennsylvania

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