On September 19, 2018, two new Brownfield Opportunity Areas were created in in the Upstate New York cities of Dunkirk and Jamestown in Chautauqua County. The designations cover more than 1,200 acres of neglected, dormant and blighted properties in the two communities and help the localities implement revitalization strategies to rebuild the affected areas and spur economic growth.
“These designations will equip local leaders with the necessary tools to turn these community blights into engines of economic opportunity and revitalization,” New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. “With these actions we are helping to create a stronger New York for all.”
The designations are based on nominations or plans that reflect local conditions in the community. Projects developed in the designated areas will be given priority status for grants and may be eligible for additional Brownfield Cleanup Program tax credit incentives.
Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello said, “I am pleased that two new areas are being designated in our county. These two new Brownfield sites will assist with the revitalization of these communities while promoting productive reuse of those sites and protecting our region’s most precious resources. Thank you to Governor Cuomo and to New York State for investing in our communities and for working to restore our county to its fullest potential.”
Prior to receiving this designation, Dunkirk and Jamestown received planning grants through New York’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program. These grants were used to complete their nomination, which developed revitalization strategies to promote sound redevelopment and enhanced environmental quality within areas affected by the presence of brownfields. The Department of State accepted the nominations for these Brownfield Opportunity Areas and determined they meet the necessary requirements and criteria for designation.
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The Department of State is proud to support the work done by local leaders across New York to envision a path forward to combat blight in our communities.A Brownfield Opportunity Area designation not only signifies our commitment to assisting the communities to reach their own goals for revitalization, but also provides real incentives to attract transformative private and public investment to these blighted areas.”
The two designated Brownfield Opportunity Areas are:
Chadwick Bay Village Master Plan BOA, City of Dunkirk: This consists of a 537-acre area on Chadwick Bay along Lake Erie that is characterized by 14 potential brownfield sites located in surrounding neighborhoods and the central business district. The primary community revitalization objectives include:
- Focus and strengthen development within the Central Business District and Waterfront;
- Reuse and upgrade vacant and underutilized land;
- Create a distinctive waterfront community;
- Guide development decisions in a clear, cost effective and equitable manner;
- Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration on development decisions;
- Improve access to and along the waterfront and establish year-round development and activities;
- Spur development that creates employment opportunities and expands the tax base; and
- A $303,750 Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grant financed planning activities for the area.
Chadakoin River West BOA, City of Jamestown: This consists of a 710-acre area characterized by at least 11 brownfield sites concentrated in an area with a mix of residential and historically industrial land uses as well as wetland areas along the Chadakoin River. The primary community revitalization objectives include:
- Creating a riverfront destination to connect and enhance the greater Jamestown Riverwalk and increase tourism opportunities;
- Improve walkability and safety of the area;
- Increase recreational activities and amenities;
- Enhance economic viability of the area; and
- A $269,100 Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grant financed planning activities for the area.
Senator Catharine M. Young said, “Contaminated sites in these communities have previously made economic progress difficult. These opportunities have the potential to bring new life to even more neighborhoods by revitalizing underutilized properties, creating jobs for residents in Jamestown and Dunkirk. With these two new designated areas in Chautauqua County, Governor Cuomo and the Legislature are making an important investment in our county’s future and giving these communities a second chance to flourish and thrive.”
The Department of State works in partnership with local communities and organizations to develop and realize a community vision for redevelopment and community revitalization. The type of neighborhoods and areas where program resources are being applied include industrial/manufacturing, commercial corridors, residential, downtowns and waterfronts. Through the Brownfield Opportunity Area Program, sites and areas are transformed from liabilities to community assets that generate businesses, jobs and revenue for local economies and provide new housing and public amenities.
Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas said, “Restoring brownfield properties in our community is critical to protecting the environment, developing our neighborhoods and most importantly, safeguarding the health of our residents. By designating Dunkirk as a new Brownfield Opportunity Area, Governor Cuomo is giving our community the power to revitalize the economy and improve quality of life for local residents. I look forward to continuing our work to drastically improve our community and make a better Dunkirk for all.”
New York State provides a tax credit incentive to encourage private-sector cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites in designated Brownfield Opportunity Areas consistent with the community’s vision for the revitalization of their neighborhood. This tax credit is available to projects on properties enrolled in the Brownfield Cleanup Program and is administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The Secretary of State determines if the projects are in conformance with the goals and priorities of the designated Brownfield Opportunity Area.
Applications are available for project developers to request review by the Secretary of State of a proposed development and determine if it conforms to the goals and priorities of the designated Brownfield Opportunity Area. More information can be found on the DOS website.
Jamestown Mayor Samuel Teresi added, “By investing in our environment, we are preparing our community for revitalization and increased economic activity. Our designation as a new Brownfield Opportunity Area will continue our momentum toward creating a new and improved Jamestown. I thank Governor Cuomo for making this critical investment in our future and giving our community a second chance to flourish.”
Photo of Lake Erie waterfront of Dunkirk via Ken Winters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.