Although Western New York won't see any of this funding, it is important for us to note the national interest in brownfield redevelopment and participate in local efforts to clean up contanimated properties.
In January and February of this year the City of Buffalo hosted three public workshops for city residents, business owners, developers and anyone else interested in re-envisioning areas throughout Buffalo that are contaminated or perceived to be contaminated. Several Brownfield Opportunity Areas (or BOA's) had been identified as large stretches of land where redevelopment could occur and the public was invited to take part in a visioning process. (Click the image on the right to view Buffalo's three BOA's).
If you missed the workshops, don't worry. More opportunities to share your vision are coming up as the city will engage the public in local planning efforts again this summer.
In 2011, the City of Buffalo received funding from the New York State Department of State to study three local Brownfield Opportunity Areas in the City of Buffalo: the Buffalo Harbor BOA, the Buffalo River Corridor BOA, and the Tonawanda Street Corridor BOA. The studies will help guide the transformation of more than 2,500 acres of land within Buffalo.
"Restored brownfield properties can serve as cornerstones for rebuilding struggling communities,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Clean, healthy communities are places where people want to live, work and start businesses. We're providing targeted resources to help local partners transform blighted, contaminated areas into centers of economic growth."
According to the EPA, there are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in America. In 2011 alone, EPA’s brownfields program garnered 6,447 jobs and $2.14 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funds. Since its inception EPA’s brownfields investments leveraged more than $18.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding from a variety of public and private sources and have resulted in approximately 75,500 jobs. More than 18,000 properties have been assessed, and over 700 properties have been cleaned up. Brownfields grants also target under-served and low income neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed.
So the gist is, there is national interest in brownfield redevelopment and that interest can also found on a local level. To hop on board the brownfield bandwagon, get involved in your local community by visiting http://buffalobrownfieldopportunities.com/.
Find more information on EPA’s brownfields program here.