The federal Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the city a $200,0000 grant to possibly redevelop Brownfield sites.
On Wednesday, both U.S. Congressman Tom Reed, R-Corning, and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, announced the awarding of the assessment pilot grant. The money will be used to assess the Chadakoin West and Chadakoin Riverfront Brownfield sites for possible redevelopment. A Brownfield site is real property where the redevelopment or reuse of land may be complicated by the potential presence of a contaminant. Contaminants include hazardous waste and/or petroleum. Both Reed and Schumer wrote letters to the federal Environmental Protection Agency in support of Jamestown's grant application.
Vince DeJoy, city development director, said he would like to thank all officials who wrote letters supporting the city's efforts.
"I would like to thank all elected officials who wrote support letters to the EPA. I would especially like to thank Sen. Schumer who took it one step further by contacting them directly," DeJoy said.
DeJoy said the money will allow the city to do Phase 1 and 2 environmental assessments at sites along the Chadakoin and elsewhere in the city.
"The sites don't necessarily need to be along the Chadakoin, but anywhere in Jamestown where there could be contamination. We're looking for sites that have former industrial-type operations where some new company could relocate," he said. "It doesn't need to be near the Chadakoin, but some of the best sites strategically are located along the river. These are still areas zoned for industrial use. We are trying to repackage these sites to redevelop them and repurpose them."
Dejoy said city officials want to create shovel-ready sites where developers can reuse the land for industry to create jobs. Redevelopers could receive incentives from programs like Start-Up NY or Brownfield tax credits. DeJoy said the sites haven't yet been selected where the environmental assessments will take place. He said assessing the Brownfield sites will be a two-year process.
"We have a list of sites that are high-value strategic sites. Once we get more details on how we can use the grant and once we work out the details we can see which sites will be selected," he said.
Through a public input process, Jamestown officials designated the boundaries of the Brownfield Opportunity Area Program to include both the Chadakoin West and Chadakoin Riverfront, which are approximately 710 acres and 643 acres in size, respectively. This area encompasses the entire Chadakoin River corridor through the city as the Chadakoin River traverses the city from west to east. Approval of the grant has enabled Jamestown to address a range of problems posed by the existence of multiple Brownfield sites in the target area and to assess sites contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants.
Schumer announced in a news release that after his push the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the city with the $200,000 grant. Schumer said the grant will allow the city to inventory, characterize, assess and conduct planning and community involvement related to these sites and their potential reuses.
"This EPA grant is great news for Jamestown, and is the first key step to the redevelopment of these two sites, which would provide a huge shot in the arm to downtown Jamestown. The benefits of this EPA grant are twofold: it will make Chadakoin West and the Chadakoin Riverfront a cleaner, safer area, and it will prime both sites for a revitalization," Schumer said. "These two Brownfields, adjacent to the train station downtown, are excellent locations for investment, and this EPA grant gets the wheels moving firmly in the direction of redevelopment."
Reed also announced Wednesday through a news release information about the grant for Jamestown. Reed said the support is crucial to protecting public health, cleaning up the environment and supporting economic development.
"This grant gives Jamestown an opportunity to address a wide range of problems posed by brownfield sites and helps revitalize the area," Reed said. "It's an investment in the community to clean up hazardous waste, protect environmental safety, care for economic development and create jobs in the area. We're able to turn once contaminated property into productive, useful land that will make Jamestown a better place to live."