City officials are appreciative of support from U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer in urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to award the city a $200,000 grant.
Jamestown is seeking funding from the 2014 Brownfield Assessment Grant Program being offered through the EPA. The funding would be utilized to assess priority Brownfield sites as identified through Jamestown’s New York State Brownfield Opportunity Area Program. The EPA grant would allow Jamestown to inventory, characterize, assess and conduct planning and community involvement related to these sites and their potential reuses.
City officials have begun to assess which parcels will most benefit from such assessments to utilize funds from private developers interested in high-priority Brownfield sites analyzed through these assessments.
On Tuesday, Schumer in a news release said he sent a letter to EPA officials stating the Chadakoin West and Chadakoin Riverfront are prime for redevelopment given that they are adjacent to the Jamestown Gateway Train Station. With the EPA grant, these sites could be assessed for redevelopment.
Vince DeJoy, city development director, said Jamestown officials are grateful for Schumer’s support for the EPA grant.
”Sen. Schumer understands the importance of revitalizing what was once a robust and dynamic manufacturing and commercial core in Jamestown, and taking the steps necessary to repackage these sites for redevelopment,” he said. ”The awarding of this grant to the city of Jamestown is extremely important because it will give us the resources necessary to perform environmental assessments for strategic sites that will have a high impact for redevelopment.”
DeJoy said this would be the first step toward turning the sites into shovel-ready locations for future development projects.
”Developers are interested in these sites because it opens the door for numerous incentives such as Brownfield tax credits, which have become desirable to revitalize sites that were once productive,” he said. ”Sen. Schumer has additionally taken a keen interest in Jamestown’s West Chadakoin development around the train station and the area along the riverfront. This grant would allow us to go beyond the planning stages with the goal of realizing positive results in marketing these sites for commercial and manufacturing purposes.”
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.
The EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant is designed to provide municipalities and community-based organizations with funding assistance to cover up to 100 percent of eligible costs to complete community-wide Phase 1 and Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments.
Approval of this grant request will enable 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.
It will also assist the city in identifying future uses for those areas that currently contain Brownfields by removing barriers to redevelopment as well as facilitating the establishment of public/private-sector partnerships that will help leverage the critical private investment needed to revitalize the city of Jamestown, according to Schumer.
Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi said the grant would provide Jamestown officials leverage with private developers by eliminating the costly expense of Phase 1 and Phase 2 site assessments.
”Ensuring the ability to perform these assessments communitywide through this grant to the city of Jamestown fosters the concept of smart growth, and is the vital first step leading to remediation, removing barriers to redevelopment, and ultimately leads to a better quality of life and health outcomes for the citizens that reside in adjoining neighborhoods,” he said.