SCHUMER CALLS ON THE FEDS TO APPROVE BROOME COUNTY’S APPLICATION FOR THE CONTINUED REDEVELOPMENT OF FORMER BAE WESTOVER SITE IN THE VILLAGE OF JOHNSON CITY
At Schumer’s Urging, Air Force Demolished And Cleaned Up Former Westover Site After Severe Flooding Left The Former BAE Facility Uninhabitable; The Site Is Now Ripe For Development And Is An Opportunity To Improve Local Environment And Property Values
Now, Schumer Urges DOD To Make Good On Commitment To Help With Recovery, Calls On DOD To Approve County Agency’s Application And Provide Planning Assistance For Site Redevelopment; Senator Says Funding Will Foster Further Economic Growth
Schumer: It Is Time To Turn The Page At Former BAE Site; Federal Investment Will Assist Local Leaders In Planning The Next Chapter Of This Prime Location
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today urged the Office of Economic Adjustment to approve the application submitted by The Broome County Industrial Development Agency for federal funding to help plan and evaluate options for the development and rehabilitation of AF Plant 59, located at 600 Main Street in the Town of Union. This site, most recently occupied by BAE Systems Inc., was rendered inhabitable after the facility was inundated with flood waters in September 2011. Schumer, said the funding will help support a comprehensive feasibility study for the redevelopment of this site, identifying the best possible uses for it in coordination with federal, state, and local partner plans and recommendations.
“The bottom line is that Broome County has made tremendous strides to rebuild and rebound from the damaging flood of 2011. The federal government must now do all it can to support these efforts, and the approval of these vital funds to redevelop the now-vacant site for BAE in Westover is just what is in order,” said Senator Schumer. “The site is clean and ready, and now I urge the Office of Economic Adjustment to approve this application so we can jump start redevelopment efforts and use this site to create jobs. It is now time to sign, seal, and deliver funding so that the real work can begins to repurpose and rebuild this site.”
Schumer said the location is one of the few remaining large developable sites within Broome County’s urban core, and is in a very strategic location for new opportunity: located within the Village of Johnson City, minutes from the site of the future, Binghamton University’s Health Sciences Campus. Schumer said the development of the site will greatly enhance opportunities for economic and business development in and around the Village of Johnson City, and that this vital funding is critical to assist with planning for the new development.
After the flood waters receded, the site became an eye sore, a harsh reminder of the devastation the community had endured. Local resources were expended to maintain and secure the derelict site. Local property values were threatened, a major regional employer displaced, thousands of jobs were at risk, and a once vibrant site that supported local business was gone. Schumer then went right to work, ensuring that the federal government brought all of its resources to bear to help the community rebuild. At his urging, the Air Force committed to the demolition and remediation of the site and the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) determined the site eligible for its assistance. Now with the cleanup concluded, community leaders are looking forward with anticipation for its “next chapter.” To that end, the site has been identified as a critical “community site” and is one of the chief focuses for the revitalization efforts of the local government.
“These funds are a critical piece to redeveloping this site for the highest and best use to our community. Since the 2011 flood, Senator Schumer has worked hard to ensure that Broome County received the help it needed, from pushing to get this site cleaned up, making this site eligible for funds, and now pushing to help deliver, he has a been a true partner helping us rebuild and redevelop,” said Kevin McLaughlin, executive director of The Agency Broome County IDA/LDC.
Schumer added, the funding request aligns perfectly with the mission of the Office of Economic Adjustment, to “create a positive environment for economic growth, innovative land use strategies, and enhanced quality of life.” With the community poised to move forward with the future of the site, Schumer said it is critical that their application is approved and that funds are signed sealed and delivered.
A copy of Schumer’s letter to OEA Director Patrick O’Brien appears below:
Mr. Patrick O’Brien
The Office of Economic Adjustment
Dear Director O’Brien
I write in support of the application submitted by the Broome County Industrial Development Agency for funding through the Office of Economic Adjustment. This funding is vital for the continued development and rehabilitation of 600 Main Street, the former site of Air Force Plant (AFP) 59, in Johnson City, New York. The funding will allow for the completion of a comprehensive feasibility study for the redevelopment of this site, identifying the best possible use for it in coordination with federal, state, and local partner plans and recommendations.
This site lies in the Village of Johnson City, just east of the City of Binghamton line. In 2011, a catastrophic flood devastated the region and the facility, home to a major aerospace and platform solution company, was inundated with 5-6 feet of water and rendered uninhabitable. Over a thousand jobs were at risk, a major tenant displaced, and a void created in an otherwise vibrant neighborhood. In the wake of this flood, I have worked closely with the Department of Defense to ensure that the Federal Government brings to bear all of its resources in order to help the community rebuild. At my request, the U.S. Air Force committed to the demolition and remediation of the site and the Office of Economic Adjustment determined that the site is eligible for its assistance. I am happy to report that cleanup has concluded and community leaders are looking forward with anticipation to its next chapter. To that end, the site has been identified as a critical “community site” and is one of the chief focuses for the revitalization efforts of the local government. This location is one of the few remaining large parcels of land in Broome County’s urban core that is available for development, and is in a strategic location for a new development opportunity.
The development of the former AFP 59 site will significantly enhance opportunities for economic and business development in the Village of Johnson City, and this funding is critical to assist with planning to ensure the maximum benefit is realized with any new development. Furthermore, the funding request aligns perfectly with the mission of the Office of Economic Adjustment, to “create a positive environment for economic growth, innovative land use strategies, and enhanced quality of life.” As the community is poised to move forward with the future of the site, I urge for the quick approval of their application so they can hit the ground running. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff should you have any questions.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
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