On December 17, 2019, New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado announced the designation of eight new Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOAs) in communities in five regions across New York State, which gives the localities tools to fast-track neighborhood revitalization efforts and foster redevelopment of blighted sites, transforming them from liabilities to catalysts for economic growth.
“These new Brownfield Opportunity Area designations breathe new life into localities that have been facing blighted sites for a long time giving them a new phase of development and prosperity,” said Rosado.
“The designated BOAs in these five regions have put forward revitalization strategies to spur redevelopment while enhancing environmentally sustainable neighborhoods ready to provide economic growth to business and employment for families around the state,” she added.
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos explained, “New York State’s Brownfield Opportunity Area Program has the power to transform communities. Across the state, brownfield cleanups have helped successfully return thousands of abandoned and contaminated properties to productive use by providing tools and resources to encourage redevelopment and removing obstacles to revitalization. Congratulations to the eight new BOAs and many thanks to the Department of State and all of our partners who have made these investments possible.”
In total, eight BOAs have been designated in New York City, Long Island, the Capital Region, Central New York, and Western New York, bringing the total number of designated BOAs in New York State to 57.
These communities received planning grants through the state’s BOA program to put forth a comprehensive revitalization strategy to promote effective redevelopment and enhanced environmental quality in each area. The New York State Department of State, which administers the program, determined these projects meet the necessary requirements and criteria for designation. Municipalities and not-for-profits may also apply for BOA pre-development grants to advance projects within the designated BOAs.
New York State also provides a tax credit incentive to encourage private-sector cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites in designated BOAs that conform with the community’s vision for the revitalization of their neighborhood. This tax credit bonus is available to projects on properties enrolled in the Brownfield Cleanup Program, administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The Secretary of State determines if projects are in conformance with the goals and priorities of the designated BOA.
The eight newly-designated BOAs are:
New York City
- North Brooklyn Brownfield Opportunity Area, Kings County: Evergreen Local Development Corporation, a community-based not-for-profit organization, completed a Brownfield Opportunity Area nomination for a 721-acre area in North Brooklyn comprising industrial and mixed-use properties located in the City’s third largest Industrial Business Zone. The area is well positioned for continued development, expansion and revitalization as a job creator for industry while seeking to improve supportive infrastructure and balancing industrial uses with emerging mixed-use areas outside of the core. Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grants of $380,430 financed planning activities for the area.
- Port Richmond-Mariners Harbor Brownfield Opportunity Area, Staten Island: The Northfield Community Local Development Corporation, a community-based not-for-profit organization, completed a Brownfield Opportunity Area nomination for a 480-acre area that provides a thorough area-wide analysis of existing conditions, opportunities, and reuse potential for strategic sites within the entire Port Richmond area. The area includes Mariner’s Harbor, Elm Park, and Arlington neighborhoods focusing on opportunities for revitalizing the Port Richmond Avenue, strengthening the working waterfront industry along Richmond Terrace as well as fostering creative industry, developing affordable housing and improving open spaces for the community. Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grants of $543,825 financed planning activities for the area.
- Town of Oyster Bay, Northwest Hicksville Brownfield Opportunity Area, Nassau County: The Northwest Hicksville Brownfield Opportunity Area encompasses approximately 1071 acres within the Hamlet of Hicksville, including the environs of the Hicksville Long Island Railroad station. The BOA Nomination focuses on mixed-use multi-family residential and commercial uses surrounding the LIRR station, preserving and expanding employment in light industry, protecting existing neighborhoods, improving the visual quality of the Broadway and Old Country Road Corridors, and promoting arts and cultural activities within the area. A $307,170 Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grant financed planning activities for the area. Town of Oyster Bay, Southeast Hicksville Brownfield Opportunity Area, Nassau County: The Southeast Hicksville Brownfield Opportunity Area encompasses an approximately 1,055-acre area located in the southeastern portion of the hamlet of Hicksville. The BOA Nomination focuses on revitalization of vacant and underutilized properties for commercial and industrial uses, enhancement of aesthetics, provision of needed businesses and services, new housing options for the senior and next generation populations, and transportation enhancements to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians. Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grants of $96,850 financed planning activities for the area.
- Village of Philmont, Summit Lake and Its Watercourse Brownfield Opportunity Area, Columbia County: This Brownfield Opportunity Area encompasses approximately 247 acres of Philmont’s downtown. The area is positioned for continued revitalization and development as a historic village center with an active main street, revitalized historic structures for cultural activities and small enterprise, a restored Summit Lake and surrounding trails and amenities. A $225,000 Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grant financed planning activities for the area.
Central New York
Town of Clay, Three Rivers Point Brownfield Opportunity Area, Onondaga County: The Three Rivers Point Brownfield Opportunity Area encompasses 88 acres at the confluence of the Oneida, Oswego, and Seneca Rivers and contains several brownfield properties, including two former asphalt plant sites. The BOA Nomination focuses on increasing waterfront access and open space, furthering environmental cleanup of contaminated properties within the BOA and promoting redevelopment. A $278,712 Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grant financed planning activities for the area.
Western New York
- City of Lackawanna, First Ward Brownfield Opportunity Area, Erie County: The City of Lackawanna First Ward Brownfield Opportunity area encompasses 2,062 acres of the western portion of the city and includes the former Bethlehem Steel Mill property. The community has identified four investment areas to focus revitalization efforts that will include mixed use redevelopment, access to Lake Erie, improvements to connectivity including the Hamburg Turnpike Corridor and Ridge Road Corridor, as well as creating public open space in the First Ward neighborhoods. A $202,500 Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grant financed planning activities for the area.
- Town of Tonawanda, Tonawanda Opportunity Area, Niagara County: The Tonawanda Opportunity Area encompasses land in both the City of Tonawanda at the former Spaulding Fiber site and the Town of Tonawanda focusing on areas around River Road and the Niagara River. The goal of the project is to create sustainable, mixed use neighborhoods, that provide residents, businesses and visitors with employment, recreation, and living opportunities with improved access to the Niagara River. Areas such as the Mile View Strategic Area, Niagara River World/INS/Cherry Farm Strategic Area, United Strategic Area, and the Huntley/Sawyer Strategic Area are focal points for current and ongoing revitalization efforts. A $60,480 Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grant financed planning activities for the area.
Photo of Tonawanda’s Gateway Harbor is by Spwiki2016 via Wikipedia.