(Courtesy Dan Garrison)

Did you know that Colorado once enjoyed a “White Gold Rush” in the sugar beet industry, starting in the late 1800s? Those days are over, but old sugar beet processing plants — or in some cases, the land they were located on — are showing new economic development promise as railroad transfer stations, storage facilities, a cheese factory and industrial parks.

Jesse Silverstein with Colorado Brownfields talks about efforts his organization and the EPA have been working on to help find ways to turn the moldering mills and silos of former sugar beet towns into community assets. The disused facilities present renovation challenges because they are riddled with asbestos and piled with lime and beet waste.