Leading the Nation

The Washington County Site Redevelopment Program has received recognition for the work that has been done throughout the years. With the hard work of the Site Redevelopment Committee (SRC), Washington County, Economic Development Washington County, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR), consultants, and other stakeholders, this program is leading the nation with brownfield cleanup and redevelopment. Below are statements from partners, as well as the awards that this program has received.

"The Washington County Site Redevelopment Program serves as an excellent model of collaboration for brownfield projects. By forming a coalition of local communities, the SRP has been able to assess and redevelop troubled properties much quicker than any one community could likely do alone. There's strength in numbers and the SRP has certainly taken advantage of that approach. After witnessing their work firsthand it's no surprise why the SRP is the recipient of multiple EPA brownfield grants."
- Brian Kennedy, US EPA Brownfields Project Manager

"The County Site Redevelopment Program is carrying out what seems to be the DNR Brownfield Program's dream of how brownfields could be addressed at the local level in Wisconsin." 
-Barry Ashenfelter, WI DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program

Awards Received

2020 WI Policy Forum Intergovernmental Cooperation Award 

Washington County received an Intergovernmental Cooperation award from the Wisconsin Policy Forum presented for the Barton School Apartments. This development included a collaboration of five municipalities with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Economic Development Washington County.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the event was held virtually in November of 2020. The Wisconsin Policy Forum celebrates the public sector excellence and the benefits it brings to taxpayers and communities throughout Wisconsin. The Barton School Apartments celebrated its grand opening in February of 2020 and consists of 22 apartments and 18 townhomes.

The 2020 Salute to Local Government press release provides more information and details regarding the program and the award.

EPA 2019 Region 5 Recognition

US EPA Region 5 took notice of the success of the Site Redevelopment Program (SRP), recognizing the SRP, Washington County and the City of West Bend for 'Outstanding Contributions in Brownfields Redevelopment' at the National Brownfields Conference for the Barton School Apartment Redevelopment. 

 The County was given this award at the U.S. EPA Brownfields Conference held in Los Angeles, California in December 2019, it was then presented to the Commonwealth Companies at Barton School by Washington County. Commonwealth Companies developed the affordable housing project in the historic Barton Elementary School in partnership with Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development,  and with support from numerous private and public sector funding partners, including the SRP funding for site assessment and a remedial action plan.

For more information, please read the press release regarding the recognition. 

2017 Planning Excellence Award

In 2017, the Program was recognized by the American Planning Association-Wisconsin Chapter (APA-WI) with the "Planning Excellence" Award for Plan Implementation. Since 2012, Washington County has been proactively working to evaluate, assess and plan for the redevelopment of idle or underutilized sites. When asked about the role of planners in the Site Redevelopment Program, Rich Gundrum, County Board Chairperson said, "Since 2013, our program has had a proven record demonstrating the types of success that are possible when professional planners work to maximize resources and take a regional approach to problem solving. It is imminently clear that the success of our work was driven by a collective buy-in achieved through a process and approach that would not have emerged without the commitment from professional planners." 

Regarding the 2017 Planning Excellence Award to the Site Redevelopment Program, the American Planning Association Wisconsin Chapter jury commented, "This program and its implementation is the result of an impressive coalition of multiple communities and agencies working together to achieve common goals. The prioritization strategy helps leverage various funding sources and sets the stage for long-term reinvestment."

For more information, view the WAPA Fall/Winter 2017 Newsletter.

Brownfields Summit: Rock Falls, Illinois

On September 13th, 2018, representatives from Washington County, Wisconsin and the U.S. EPA visit Rock Falls, Illinois for a one-day summit and exchange between two successful, but different, brownfields programs. Both Washington County and Rock Falls have been recognized within their states and nationally as benchmark rural development programs leveraging strategic projects focused on both short- and long- term success. The summit provided an opportunity for programs to share histories, challenges, and best practices with one another. This event was attended by public and private professionals from Washington County and Rocks Falls.

The Brownfield Summit Report provides a full summary of the event including presentations, tours, and workshops.