August 18, 2021

An ELI and American Bar Association Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice Co-Sponsored Public Webinar

Lower- and middle-income communities across the country are struggling with brownfields, blight, aging infrastructure, and underemployment. These issues are exacerbated by climate change through extreme weather events, food insecurity, and lack of potable water. Local communities have been developing “corridor projects” or “area-wide plans” to provide holistic solutions to the challenges they face. For years, EPA provided critical seed funding for community-led redevelopment through the Area-Wide Planning Grant. Historically, ELI’s Blight Revitalization Initiative for Green, Healthy Towns (BRIGHT) Program has identified corridors of blighted, vacant, and environmentally-impaired properties in overburdened communities and supported communities and municipalities in developing a revitalization plan.

Presently, the BRIGHT Guide empowers communities to plan their own corridor project by providing instructions, resources, best practices, and lessons learned from previous Area-Wide Planning Grant winners. This panel will focus on a case study of Whitesburg, Kentucky, a community burdened with many of these reoccurring issues, developed a corridor project plan for the primary strip of their downtown area by employing the BRIGHT model.

How can “corridor projects” act as catalyst for sustainable development in communities? How does a community group or leaders organize stakeholders, partner with institutions, apply for grants, and generally pursue sustainable development despite challenges? Join the Environmental Law Institute, BRIGHT program staff, and key stakeholders from the Whitesburg Corridor Project to explore these questions and the creation, implementation, and impacts of this project, both for Whitesburg and similar communities across the U.S.

Panelists:
Noble Smith
, 3L Howard University Law School; former Environmental Justice Law Clerk, Environmental Law Institute; Moderator
Shane Barton, Downtown Revitalization Coordinator, Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky, University of Kentucky
Marley Green, Community Development Worker, Appalshop
Valerie Horn, Head, the Letcher County Farmers' Market and the CANE Kitchen
Missy Matthews, Chair, the Letcher County Tourism Commission
Alda Yuan, Visiting Attorney and Managing Director, BRIGHT, Environmental Law Institute

Materials:
Any materials will be posted as they are received.
ELI members will have subsequent access to any materials/a recording of this session (usually posted w/in 48 hours). If you are not an ELI member but would like to have access to archived sessions like this one, go HERE to see the many benefits of membership and how to join.