MVEDGE receives grant to assess brownfields

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Mohawk Valley EDGE has received a federal Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Assessment Grant to inventory, assess, investigate, and develop remediation plans for brownfields across Oneida County, according to a release.

The impacts of the $300,000 grant will benefit those living and working in urban centers, small villages, and towns along the Mohawk River, the New York State Barge Canal, and industrial corridors, according to an announcement by the economic development group.

“Ironically, the region’s manufacturing prowess that made this area so prosperous during the industrial revolution has also contributed to the decades-long decline the county has experienced – leaving behind disproportionately high concentrations of abandoned buildings and vacant sites,” the MVEDGE statement adds.

While working with federal, state and local partners, MVEDGE will be able to perform beginning stages of Environmental Site Assessments as well as perform remediation and revitalization planning for the more challenged sites.

“With most of the “easy” sites spoken for, focusing on brownfields and infill opportunities is essential to limiting sprawl and preserving agricultural land. Revitalization of these properties in the county’s population centers will mean the creation of sites already served by a full complement of utilities and municipal services – sites that will support new housing, mixed use development, local business expansion, entrepreneurial startups, and vibrant public spaces,” a release noted.

In statements, area elected and economic development officials weighed in: -“This brownfield assessment grant will empower us to revitalize communities all across Oneida County … Mohawk Valley EDGE has worked long and hard to assist our municipalities in redeveloping long-blighted properties, and this funding from the USEPA will provide the spark they so desperately need to ignite the process. We are grateful for the opportunity they have provided to further secure the county’s future,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. 

“The EPA grant award of a brownfield assessment grant of $300,000 is welcome news to the City of Rome … Through our strong partnership with MVEDGE, two sites have been identified in Rome that are critical to continued waterfront development and neighborhood development in the city. These sites present significant challenges and funding for Phase I and II ESAs will go a long way to assist us in developing remediation plans to bring those properties back into environmental compliance and allow for future economic revitalization of those sites,” Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo said.

“Funding to remediate brownfield sites is vital in creating economic development and revitalization opportunities ... I commend Mohawk Valley EDGE for successfully working with the EPA to secure these important funds as it will serve as a catalyst for substantive impact in our community,” added Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri.

“Our largest municipalities both suffered significant population declines which left behind a legacy of contaminated sites and vacant buildings,” said Steven J. DiMeo, EDGE President. “As evidenced by the successful redevelopment of the former Rome Cable site, Air City Lofts, downtown Utica, and Harbor Point, we can continue to create value, improve the business climate, and stabilize blighted residential, commercial, and industrial districts. Oneida County is rebounding from the pandemic and poised for growth. Momentum is building, and this opportunity comes at just the right time.”

“This brownfield assessment funding comes at the perfect time,” said Rocco F. Arcuri Sr, EDGE Board Chair. “As we emerge from this global pandemic, rethinking and revitalizing our communities is more important than ever. For years we have been working with our municipal partners to transform the regional economy. Finally, now we will have the funding to assist with the difficult tasks of investigation and remediation planning for strategic buildings and sites plaguing our downtowns, waterfronts, and village centers. Economic growth is much stronger and more sustainable when we consider environmental equity for everyone; and we are so proud to partner with the USEPA to make both a reality.”

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