EPA staff from regions and department across the U.S. convened in Kansas City for a two-day series of training activities focused on creative techniques to engage communities in various aspects of the environment, community health, smart growth, brownfields clean-up, and NGO capacity building. The emphasis of Sean’s educational track discussed challenges in developing meaningful techniques to truly engage the public in the topic of brownfields clean-up and redevelopment, especially in economically distressed communities. SGA’s Ivanhoe Neighborhood 39th Street Brownfields Corridor Revitalization Plan prepared for the Kansas City, MO Department of Planning and U.S. EPA Region 6 was used as a model for how creative tools and techniques can get residents and property owners communicating with each other and establishing meaningful dialogue on issues and opportunities for the future. The Ivanhoe Neighborhood experiences some of the greatest economic decline in the City in the period of 2008 through 2015. The Ivanhoe Neighborhood Association utilized the planning process, including the extensive public engagement, to undertake major revitalization efforts, including purchasing several hundred former foreclosed or drug houses and redeveloping the former Horace Mann School site with new affordable and senior housing.

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