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EPA Announces Brownfield Program Funds For New York

Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Administrator Peter Lopez
Michael Apollo
Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Administrator Peter Lopez (file photo)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced $3 million in grants for communities to address contaminated sites across New York.

Awards were announced Wednesday for Broome County, Glens Falls, Gowanda, Ithaca, Montgomery County, Rochester, the Sullivan County Land Bank, and Wayne County.

EPA Region 2 Administrator Pete Lopez held a conference call with reporters. He said the funding is to encourage economic development.

“The Brownfield program just by design is intended help provide a framework for leveraging private investment.”

Seventy-five percent of the sites receiving support are in federally-designated Opportunity Zones, which allow for certain tax incentives.

The City of Glens Falls will use a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant to identify sistes for assessment, assess sites for hazardous substances, complete cleanup and reuse plans, and for community outreach.

The city will use the resource in its so-called Gateway Industrial Corridor, which includes at least 12 vacant and underused factory buildings, and more than 20 closed service businesses.

City director of economic development Ed Bartholomew, who also serves as president of EDC Warren County, said the EPA’s risk assessment program has been useful as it pursues mixed-use development, housing rehab, and other projects.

He says, in Glens Falls it “has directly led to the city starting with anchor projects in our downtown center.”

Glens Falls was the previous winner of a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award from New York State. The city directed the funding to improve the city’s South Street corridor.

A half-million dollar EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant will go to the Sullivan County Land Bank Corporation.

The land bank will use the money to remediate the former Monticello Manor hospital in the Village of Monticello.

Land Bank Chair Freda Eisenberg said the project is strategically located.

“It’s right down the street from government center and is also located within a mile, mile-and-a-half from Sullivan County’s brand new casino.”

The Resorts World Catskills Casino in Monticello opened two years ago.

In Montgomery County, a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant will target a former fuel oil storage company, a former laundry, and a former paper mill in the City of Amsterdam and the Village of St. Johnsville.

In a statement, Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort said the assessment grant is great news, adding, “This funding announcement is coming at a particularly critical time as we look to continue building our local economy coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Republican Congressman Tom Reed, who represents the western New York Village of Gowanda and the City of Ithaca, which were each awarded $300,000, called the Brownfields program a success story.

“Where we’re taking those sites that otherwise would not be put to good use and we’re developing them, we’re cleaning them up, and we’re putting them into a productive position for our communities to grow from,” said Reed.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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