National Planning Achievement Award for ASARCO Redevelopment Project

Adams County has received the Gold 2018 National Planning Achievement Award for Economic Development Planning from the American Planning Association (APA). The award recognizes the initiative, A Return to Past Prosperity: The ASARCO Redevelopment Project, for transforming a toxic industrial plant into a vibrant, economic center. The ASARCO Redevelopment Project is one of 16 APA Achievement Award recipients this year.

“We are thrilled this project is being recognized by the APA,” said Mary Hodge, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners. “It took tenacity, innovative partnerships, and relentless optimism to see it through. The goal was always to bring jobs and vitality back to this neighborhood.”

The ASARCO Redevelopment Project is a joint effort of private and public entities to clean up and redevelop a distressed 77-acre industrial site in Globeville, located north of Denver. When the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO), which managed the site, shut its doors in 2006, the pollution and environmental waste it left behind was so toxic that many residents underwent frequent cancer screenings. During ensuing bankruptcy proceedings, a custodial trust was formed to oversee the property and was given $14.4 million for remediation efforts.

The redevelopment project plan called for a finance package that included a $10 million Section 108 HUD loan from Adams County, $750,000 from Denver’s Community Development Block Grant Program, and Tax Increment Financing funds. New legislation modified the state’s urban renewal law, which allowed counties to participate in urban renewal projects, and made the financing package possible. The collaborative effort transformed a dangerous brownfield site into a vibrant, economic center that will ultimately bring approximately 1,000 new jobs into the area.

“The community overcame challenging environmental obstacles,” said W. Shedrick Coleman, AIA, 2018 Awards Jury chair. “The county’s work is an outstanding example of leveraging funding and partnerships to provide the area much-needed employment opportunities.”

Each year, APA recognizes outstanding efforts in planning and planning leadership through its National Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards. The two-tier awards are selected through a juried process. Excellence Award recipients are the highest honor, and Achievement Awards recognize accomplishments in areas of specialization within the planning profession.

The 2018 National Planning Award recipients will be honored at a special luncheon during APA’s National Planning Conference in New Orleans on April 23. The recipients will also be featured in the April issue of Planning magazine. For a complete list and summary of all the APA 2018 National Planning Excellence and Achievement Award recipients, visit