After more than two years of study, meetings and preparation the Orem City Council has approved the Geneva Road area-wide plan as an appendix to the Orem Master Plan.
The plan is centered on the needs of cleaning the brownfield grounds that line Geneva Road from Center Street to 1600 North. This will allow for more business development.
Two years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pegged Orem as a Brownfield Area-Wide Plan grant recipient. The plan helps communities with brownfield issues and challenges. Orem has multiple brownfield sites.
According to the EPA, a brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.
There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S., according to the EPA.
Orem is among 149 communities selected to receive EPA Brownfields grants totaling $64.6 million through a Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup grant program.
The EPA gave Orem $200,000 to work with the community leaders and stakeholders to begin an area-wide strategy for brownfield assessment, cleanup and reuse along the corridor.
In June, representatives from the EPA traveled to Orem to take a first-hand look at the brownfield areas.
As part of the visit, they presented the city with a $300,000 grant for Geneva Road brownfield areas.
The recent grant is also to help businesses do environmental assessments, cleanup and redevelopment of the brownfield sites.
Stakeholders, including property owners, have helped shape redevelopment ideas in the area. A steering committee was created with representatives from Orem, Vineyard, Utah County, Utah Transit Authority, Utah Department of Transportation, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, the EPA and the Mountainland Association of Governments.
According to Emily Guffin, long-range planner for Orem, there was a robust digital engagement for the area plan, as well as three steering committee meetings, two public open houses and a special property owner’s workshop, where representatives from the city, a consultant team and UDEQ helped property owners grasp their individual obligations and the desire for them to be a business partner in the redevelopment process.
During the 2018 Summerfest, residents were asked to weigh-in on what they imagine for Orem in the Geneva Road area. According to Guffin, there was a great response from children on up. They drew ideas, built Lego towns and adults also answered a survey.
The Imagine Orem designing resulted in three major areas or corridors for clean-up and development; the Gateway zone at 1600 North; the Geneva Crossing zone at 800 North and the Geneva Center zone from Center to 400 North.