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Schumer Says New Fed $$ Will Help Clean Up Brownfields And Eyesores And Transform Blighted Properties Across Oneida County Like The Former Rome Cable Tower Site, The Former St. Luke’s Campus, Vacant Lots, Abandoned Sites, And Other Fallow Brownfields Into Sites For Productive Use, Helping Take Burden Of Polluted Properties Off Local Taxpayer

Schumer: This Funding Is Part Of $18+ Million for Brownfield Sites Across NY & Will Improve Public Health & Safety Of Communities By Revitalizing Hazardous Sites While Creating New Development & Job Opportunities

Schumer: Cleanup And Reuse Of These Community Eyesores For Oneida County & The Mohawk Valley Takes The Next Step Today!

Following his push, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that EPA has awarded the Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises Corporation (MV EDGE) a $500,000 Brownfield’s Community-wide Assessment for site assessment, investigation, and planning to safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated properties across Oneida County.

“The Mohawk Valley and Oneida County have too many toxic eyesores and contaminated sites that not only drive down property values but put public health at risk. But now thanks to this major $500,000 federal investment we can accelerate the cleanup and reuse of these contaminated eyesores, making our communities healthier and cleaner, all while creating good-paying jobs and new development opportunities that enhance local tax rolls,” said Senator Schumer. “The Brownfields program has had tremendous success in transforming sites like these into areas of new growth and will supercharge cleanup and redevelopment efforts at lots across Upstate NY. I am proud to deliver these federal dollars to revitalize our communities and will always fight for a brighter and cleaner future for Oneida County and the Mohawk Valley.”

 “On behalf of the overburdened, underserved, highly impoverished, and historically disenfranchised communities that suffer the brunt of the deleterious effects of brownfields, I would like to extend our upmost appreciation to Senator Schumer for his tireless support in securing this $500,000 federal investment through the EPA’s Brownfields Community Wide Assessment Grant Program for MV EDGE. Thanks to this capital influx, we will be able to amplify and accelerate our Brownfields strategy focused on eliminating contamination and blight in our neighborhoods, giving our communities the agency to reshape the places they live, and harnessing existing infrastructure for new development” said Christian Mercurio, Director of Strategic Planning, Mohawk Valley EDGE. “More specifically, this grant will pave the way for MV EDGE to revitalize strategic sites in Utica, Rome, New Hartford, Boonville, Sylvan Beach and more. Over the past two decades, MV EDGE has leveraged EPA Brownfields funding into more than $100M of public and private investment across the small cities and rural communities we serve, and we are proud to have the opportunity to collaborate with Senator Schumer and the EPA to expand that footprint even further.”

“Over the past two decades, Oneida County has made significant economic strides, but there is still more work to do. Our community, like many other places across the Northeast, is not immune to brownfields. The $500,000 EPA Brownfields Community Wide Assessment Grant is the start of instilling new life and opportunity into sites immersed with potential across Oneida County. The completion of critical environmental assessments, investigations and remedial planning using the funding will put each site on a path for success by making them more attractive for future development. I applaud Mohawk Valley EDGE’s efforts to secure this funding and thank Senator Schumer for his support. Together, we will continue to transform, grow and take Oneida County to new heights, said Anthony J. Picente Jr., Oneida County Executive.”

Schumer said this funding will be used to investigate and remediate 16 acres of brownfields, rehabilitate 60,000-square-feet of building space, create 52,00-square-feet of industrial flex space, and prepare 0.4 acres for infill. More specifically, the Senator explained that MV EDGE has identified blighted and underutilized properties around Oneida County that have long plagued the community as targets for redevelopment, from the former Rome Cable Tower site, to the former St. Luke’s Hospital campus. Schumer added that MV EDGE is considering a wide array of redevelopment options to bring new jobs and economic opportunity to the county, including fresh food retailers, public greenspace and recreation, medical services, housing, and more.  

Without this federal investment, Schumer explained that MV EDGE and communities across Oneida County would not have the resources needed to complete this site assessment, investigation and planning work. Thanks to the Senator’s efforts, MV EDGE now has the funding required to provide environmental due diligence, cleanup strategy, and reuse planning services using local construction crews and vendors to position priority sites across the county for sustainable redevelopment, including the former Rome Cable Tower, former St. Luke’s campus, the former Ethan Allen furniture plant in Boonville, the Sylvan Beach tourism economy and more. Schumer added that MV EDGE plans for the rehabilitation and new construction funded by this award to incorporate energy efficient designs and equipment, such as lighting and heat pumps. This funding will build on a 2021 EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant and a 2022 EPA Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund Grant awarded to MV EDGE in recent years.

The EPA’s Brownfields Program today announced that 178 communities are selected to receive funding through our competitive Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant Programs. In total, 13 communities across New York are expected to receive over $18 million in funding to combat brownfields. The Agency also announced non-competitive supplemental funding to several existing RLF grant recipients who already achieved success in their work to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. RLF Grants provide funding for recipients to offer loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites.

Schumer’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included billions of dollars in funding to remediate contamination of sites throughout Upstate New York. This funding includes $1.2 billion for the Brownfields competitive grants and $300 million for Brownfields categorical grants to support the development of and progress being made under state-led Brownfields efforts. This investment in EPA’s Brownfields Program aims to spur life-changing revitalization in communities large and small, urban and rural to keep their neighborhoods healthy and sustainable.

A copy of Schumer’s original letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan is included below:

Dear Administrator Regan:

I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises Corporation (MVEDGE) to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfield Community Wide Assessment Grant program.

Oneida County is dotted with small villages and hamlets hugging former mills along the waterways, surrounded by forests and farmland. The County has a long industrial legacy dating back to the early 1800s with the construction of the Erie Canal that connected the nation’s heartland with New York City (NYC), which had dramatic impacts on the County. By the mid-1800s, firearms, silverware, farm equiment, wire and typewriter manufacturers were located along the Mohawk River, vaulting the area to entrepreneurial dominance as a global leader in manufacturing. As manufacturing grew, people flocked to the County’s urban centers, eventually reaching a population peak in 1970.

As a result of globalization and migration of manufacturing to low-cost areas overseas and in the southern states, thousands of good-paying jobs were lost as major closed. This decline worsened with the end of the Cold War when two huge economic drivers closed in 1995: Griffiss Air Force base and Lockheed Martin. Closures of the two facilities had cascading effects causing the closure of many supporting/service industries, resulting in an additional loss of jobs across the region from 2006 through 2019. Manufacturing was hit particularly hard especially in the urban centers of Utica and Rome, severely impacting the tax bases.

With funding, MVEDGE will pursue its plan of environmental due diligence, cleanup strategy, and reuse planning services using local construction crews/vendors and providing workforce training, whenever possible, to position priority sites for redevelopment. The TA revitalization plans will remove blight, stimulate economic growth, facilitate improvements to make the TA more resilient to the effects of climate change, and will also create opportunities for jobs, outdoor recreation, and green space.

I applaud the Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises Corporation for its foresight, and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval. Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my Grants Coordinator in my Washington, DC

office at 202-224-6542.