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The ReScape Awards: Honoring Projects that Turn Brownfields into Gold

There’s a remarkable building in West Duluth called Clyde Iron Works. In Duluth’s (and America’s) industrial heyday, Clyde Iron was a steel foundry and factory whose heavy-metal products found their way into some pretty iconic structures—the Panama Canal, the Golden Gate Bridge, Boulder Dam, Radio City Music Hall, the Empire State Building, and the New York subway system, to name a few. Decline overtook the foundry and adjacent buildings, which were vacant and deteriorating by 2002. But today, Clyde Iron Works, all 36,000 square feet of it, is a thriving restaurant/bar/event center with a big music venue called the Machine Shop. It’s just the most visible structure in Alessandro (Alex) Giuliani’s Clyde Park redevelopment project, which includes the Duluth Heritage Sports Center and the Duluth Children’s Museum as well.

Last year Clyde Park’s transformation from faded postindustrial zone to entertainment center-cum-cultural oasis was rewarded—awarded, in fact, by Minnesota Brownfields, a Twin Cities-based  nonprofit set up to promote the cleanup of contaminated land and the conversion of derelict and underused properties into repurposed gems. Minnesota Brownfields gave Clyde Park a ReScape Award.

And nominations are open for 2013’s ReScape awardees—winners to be announced on November 7. (The Line, with its ongoing interest in the repurposing of older structures and the resulting revivification of neighborhoods, is proud to be the Media Partner for this year’s awards.)

Brownfield Challenges

The purpose of ReScape, according to Minnesota Brownfields Executive Director Martha Faust, is to  “recognize the unique redevelopment challenges posed by brownfield sites, the partnerships required to revitalize them, and the various ways that revitalization benefits communities. These projects can serve as models for future redevelopment.” To that laudable end, the organization offers the award in four categories: Community Impact (the category in which Clyde Park won), Economic Impact, Environmental Impact, and—new this year—Small City Impact.

Here are the details of the awards ceremony, to be held in what is probably Saint Paul’s best-known example of architectural revival and repurposing, the Union Depot:

Thursday, November 7, 2013
4:30-7:30 p.m.
Saint Paul Union Depot
214 East 4th Street
Saint Paul, MN 55101

To purchase single tickets or tables at the event, go here.

The Categories
 All the ReScape categories, of course, reward brownfield recovery and site revitalization, but each has its particular emphasis. The Community Impact category stresses improvement in the quality of life in communities, environmental justice issues, and connections with public policy. Projects lauded in the Economic Impact division typically promote job and housing creation, “smart growth,” and/or the expansion of a community’s tax base. Environmental Impact awardees have notably reduced or eliminated contamination at sites, promoted sustainability, and/or restored natural resources.

This year’s new category, Small City Impact, takes note of projects in towns with a population of 30,000 or less that have significant community, economic, and/or environmental consequences.

To learn more about eligibility and criteria, and to nominate a ReScape-worthy project that you know about or are involved in, go here. (Nominations close on September 13.) And look for us at the awards ceremony in November.  

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