Schumer Secures Funding for Three Brownfield Sites in Upstate New York 

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced $700,000 in federal funding for several regions in Upstate NY. The funding was allocated through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Program. Out of 172 communities across the U.S., Schumer secured funding for three projects to help communities in Upstate NY to survey, clean up, redevelop and reuse contaminated and abandoned properties. Niagara County, Sullivan County, and Valley Falls in Rensselaer County will receive $300,000, $200,000, and $200,000, respectively, to tackle the problems posed by brownfield sites, which pose safety risks and suffocate local economies.

“The bottom line is brownfields are more than eyesores for local residents, they devalue surrounding properties and harm the local economy, and pose potential environmental and health threats,” said Senator Schumer. “These federal funds are critical because they will not only help our Upstate municipalities clean up these brownfield properties for the short-term health of residents living near the sites, but also invest in the long-term redevelopment of our communities so we can spur job creation and economic growth for years to come.”

Funds from the EPA grant will be used by communities to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct planning and community outreach related to their respective brownfield sites. Many sites are abandoned and unsuitable for redevelopment, dragging on the local economies in Upstate NY. According to various studies, residential property values increase between 5% and 15% when a nearby brownfield site is cleaned up.

Niagara County has received $4.8 million in brownfield grants since 1998, and this funding will continue to support the local communities’ efforts to take on the challenges posed by the 338 brownfield sites. Schumer said that once the brownfield sites are cleaned up, Niagara will be able to invest and reuse the sites for new industrial and manufacturing spaces, new housing, and tourism-related development.

Valley Falls will be receiving EPA funds to assess hazardous substances at the Old Thompson Mill Site, an old active textile manufacturing site that was abandoned in 1992. Funds will be used to characterize, assess, and conduct community outreach for future cleanup. The town of Valley Falls plans to reuse the site to build a waterfront recreational park.

Sullivan County will receive funds to focus on the urban centers of Monticello, Liberty, and South Fallsburg. The county plans include redeveloping structures in the urban centers, improving the vital area of Route 17 and 17B Corridors, which will be a gateway to Montreign Casino opening next year, and encouraging green building practices.

Brownfields are properties where moderate contamination threatens environmental quality and public health and can interfere with productive re-use of the sites. Since its inception, EPA’s brownfields investments have leveraged more than $20 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding from a variety of public and private sources and have created more than 100,000 jobs.


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