A Tulsa "Brownfield" site is changing for the better

Friday, January 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The City of Tulsa's first 'Brownfield project' was at the old Oklahoma Steel Castings plant on North Peoria. And we've discovered that a major, Tulsa employer is setting up shop there.

It's a story you'll only see on the News on Six. News on Six reporter Steve Berg learned Friday that the 1300 block of North Peoria is where Brainerd Chemical Company is going to put its new distribution center. It's great news for the city. But nobody's more excited than the owner of Brainerd Chemical.

In just 6 months from now, the owner of Brainerd Chemical says they'll turn an abandoned site into a useful site, creating a brand-new business, and at the same time, restoring the buildings to their 1920's glory. Mat Brainerd with Brainerd Chemical Company, "These old red-brick buildings represent a part of Oklahoma's history that if it weren't through this Brownfield project, it's very possible that they would just be torn down."

Brainerd says there's virtually no way anyone would have touched the property without the federal Brownfield grants. It provides for the testing and environmental cleanup of the site, as well as income tax breaks. And it cuts through endless red tape. In return, they say a vacant site that generated next to nothing in property taxes will soon be bristling with activity. And they say that tends to rub off on surrounding businesses too. Laurie Applekamp with the Tulsa Industrial Authority, "So it's just going to be a domino effect of that, that when they see what's going on in one place and how big this is going to be, they're going to see that as a positive for their business as well."

Brainerd plans to add two-dozen employees over the next two years, perhaps more. And he hopes there will be other additions. "We'll be able to refurbish this and make this hopefully another industrial park in the northern end of town, the city desperately needs, we need to refurbish this end of town and get industry pushing back this way again.”

Brainerd says if it weren't for this project, he would have had to locate in Sand Springs or Sapulpa or the Port of Catoosa. He's a fourth-generation Tulsan, and he says he absolutely wanted to have a Tulsa address.