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The County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) accepted a $600,000 United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Grant on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Coupled with funding the Agency secured from the County, this grant will enable the organization to establish a new Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) to provide both loans and subgrants to facilitate brownfield remediation and redevelopment of key properties.
The USEPA describes a brownfield as a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
Deputy County Executive of Economic Development and CCIDA CEO, Mark Geise stated, “We appreciate this grant award and are eager to develop this program. This funding is one more tool in our toolbox and will provide critical gap financing to make complicated brownfield remediation and redevelopment projects feasible.”
In 2019, Chautauqua County re-engaged in brownfields redevelopment activities to improve blighted and underutilized areas in the County, improve the health and safety of its citizens by cleaning up contaminated sites, increase the County’s tax base, spur job creation, and where applicable, kick-start revitalization activities within neighborhoods throughout the municipalities in the County.
According to Geise, “Efforts to redevelop brownfields alleviate development pressure on greenfield/undeveloped areas. Also, brownfield locations are mostly within former or established industrial areas, which means they may have existing infrastructure, such as connections to water and sewer systems, and proper zoning would already be in place.”
This funding stems from the 2019 efforts started by Chautauqua County and the CCIDA. With the completion of a Brownfields and Greenfields Development Strategy with the assistance of Prospect Hill Consulting, one of several recommendations was to seek EPA funding for this purpose.
The plan included recommendations for the development and organization of the County’s brownfield/developable site data, development of an inventory of developable sites, and preparation of targeted marketing materials and tools. The CCIDA worked with municipalities across the County to create a comprehensive inventory, database, and mapping tool of known and suspected Brownfield sites.
Through the New York State Department of State Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Program, Chautauqua County has developed outstanding nomination and planning documents that present the County’s brownfields redevelopment program objectives in the cities of Jamestown and Dunkirk. Funding from the new Brownfield Redevelopment RLF will be targeted to some of these already identified sites, but can be utilized to help stimulate reinvestment, cleanup, and redevelopment on sites across the County. Being accepted into this program also places the CCIDA in a favorable position to secure future EPA money to replenish the fund.
Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s investments in brownfield sites have leveraged more than $35 billion in cleanup and redevelopment activities, which has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. The CCIDA was one of only 17 selectees across the Unites States to receive a Revolving Loan Fund grant, which will provide funding for recipients to offer loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites.
According to Geise, the program should be ready to accept applications before the end of the year.
About the CCIDA
The CCIDA is an economic development organization authorized and empowered by the State of New York to make Chautauqua County a better place to work, live, visit, and conduct business. The organization facilitates development by attracting new businesses, while promoting the retention and expansion of existing businesses. Assistance in the form of incentives – tax abatements, low interest loans, and bond financing – enhances the opportunities for job creation and retention for our businesses. For more information, visit www.ccida.com