Project Introduction


February 20th, 2014 Public Presentation

Also, please refer to the “IN THE NEWS” page and check out a few of the most current articles written by the Yuma Sun on the project.

Yuma AerialWhat’s it all about?

In the heart of Giss Parkway, between the rail lines and the river, the City evolved over hundreds of years.  From river boat traders and gold rush enthusiasts to the Pony Express and Laguna Dam – Yuma made history and history made Yuma.  However, centuries of construction, demolition, and reconstruction takes its toll on any community and today the City is focusing on making those historic lands come alive again.  The Old Town South redevelopment efforts are centered on rebuilding areas in the City that are worn out and in need of  revitalization, whether it is a new coat of paint or a complete property overhaul, it’s time to make history again.

Who’s Involved?

The City has enlisted a partner in this effort, the United States Environmental Protection Agency or EPA.  The EPA has a national program that provides communities such as ours, grant support to address redevelopment goals and plans that may be hindered in areas where historic activities have left behind remnants of contamination.  Those remnants may have been left by:

  • Old Rail Yards
  • Blacksmith Shops
  • Auto Dealers
  • Laundry Operations
  • Manufacturing Facilities and Others

Today these sites are called Brownfields and our partnership with the EPA will help fund the steps necessary to work toward property rehabilitation.



Depot Before


Depot After

 What Steps are Involved in the Process?

  • First, the City identifies those sites that need fixing or renovation.
  • Next, consultants investigate the site background by looking at historic information – which may include photographs or written records  – this is termed the Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment. (lead by Ayres Associates)
  •  A summary report is prepared and recommendations within the report dictate if the site is ready for redevelopment or further investigation is necessary.
  • The planners prepare a master plan for future development, facilitating a public participation process to shape and prioritize that plan.
  • A variety of strategies is used to implement the plan, including pursuit of grants and financial assistance to build infrastructure and mitigate contamination to clear sites for redevelopment.


This project is an opportunity to build on the success of the National Heritage Area, and regain the momentum to strengthen Yuma’s core by bringing in greater density and amenities to downtown, especially targeting vacant and abandoned sites.

Your involvement is important to help shape the future infill.  Community input will help to prioritize improvements and identify opportunities.


How Long is the Process

The information collection can often be completed within three to four weeks, and field investigations, if required, from four to six weeks.  If a contractor is interested in starting a new development or renovating a building, the site assessment activities can be completed quickly enough to allow them to proceed on schedule.

Gila Street Before

Gila Street Before

Gila Street After

Gila Street After


What does this mean for Yuma Residents?

This is truly a community project and participation, questions, and open discussion are vital to its success.  All types of interest and participation are anticipated and some of the rewards are highlighted below.

  • Increased tourism – in areas that may not currently be attractive
  • Improved tax base – putting new businesses on vacant land
  • Health of the environment – cleaning up areas of contamination
  • Economic gain – Surrounding neighborhoods often increase in value when these areas are improved
  • Community Pride – It’s a place people want to be
  • Safer Neighborhoods – Areas that are rundown attract crime, rehabilitation brings safer neighborhoods

Brownfield redevelopment is a highly successful endeavor that not only helps us clean up our environment, but reduces the impact growth and expansion has on our ever diminishing greenspace.  By rebuilding on land that has already been developed we save pristine areas for our future enjoyment.  By cleaning up our past, we provide for a better future.

There are hundreds of examples across the country of success stories.  Old gas stations and steelyards becoming new coffee shops and local schools; riverfront landfills becoming vibrant breeding grounds for aquatic life, and growth of downtown marketplaces on top of historic industrial sites.  If you’re excited about this project and want to learn more, the following links can take you to a myriad of completed EPA brownfield renewal projects, some nearby in Arizona and others across the country.  What they all have in common is the creation of a vibrant, active and cohesive community from what often was an historic eyesore.


Links to other award winning communities


EPA Fact Sheet Webpage: 

  • Great source of ALL awards given via EPA and someone can pull up a winner by year and state.
  • The site below is a direct link to the city of Tucson 2010 assessment award – just like Yuma’s 400,000 – that may be the closest as a direct example.


Success stories map locator:


EPA general information on Brownfield Assessments:


For more information please contact:

City of

Craig Stoffel