GLOVERSVILLE — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday it has selected the city for a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant targeting abandoned tannery sites on the banks of the Cayadutta Creek and Gloversville’s southern gateway.
Mayor Vincent DeSantis said today the $300,000 will be seed money of sorts ahead of actual remediation.
“This is kind of the introductory phase,” the mayor said.
He said the EPA funding will go toward fact-finding, but is a precursor hopefully to longer-term cleanup funding.
“It tees us up for additional funding for multiple phases,” DeSantis said.
In a news release issued by the EPA, the mayor indicated the funding is a way to begin helping clean up old tannery sites.
“I am extremely grateful to EPA for this award,” DeSantis indicated. “For several decades, these environmentally compromised sites have been a major impediment to the city’s redevelopment. Thanks to this grant, we are now in a position to finally begin the process of systematically converting these properties to productive community use.”
The EPA stated that grant funds will be used to inventory and identify sites for assessment, to assess sites for hazardous substances, to complete cleanup and reuse plans, and to conduct community outreach activities. Of the 149 communities selected nationwide, 108 have identified sites or targeted areas in census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones.
An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment, the EPA says The grant to the city of Gloversville will address Opportunity Zones in targeted areas.
The EPA on Wednesday selected 149 communities across the country, including Gloversville, to receive funding for Brownfield site revitalization to help local governments redevelop vacant and unused properties, transforming communities and local economies.
EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez announced the Gloversville grant at City Hall, alongside DeSantis, Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Wilson and other officials.
EPA and Gloversville officials also toured an abandoned tannery, for which some of the EPA Brownfield funding is slated.
“These grants fulfill several of President Trump’s top priorities simultaneously: helping communities in need transform contaminated sites into community assets that not only create jobs and jumpstart economic development but also improve public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are targeting these funds to areas that need them the most. Approximately 40 percent of the selected recipients are receiving Brownfields grants for the first time, which means we are reaching areas that may previously been neglected, and 108 of the selected communities have identified sites or targeted areas for redevelopment that fall within Opportunity Zones.”
“With EPA’s Brownfields grants, communities can take contaminated, blighted properties and turn them into usable, environmentally and economically profitable land,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez.
State Assemblyman Robert Smullen said he was “pleased” to see the city of Gloversville receive a federal Brownfields Assessment Grant to help clean up and redevelop the old tannery sites in the city.
“By investing in this riverfront land and preparing it for redevelopment, we can continue to grow our community and attract new businesses and families,” he said in the release. “Regional Administrator Lopez and all those involved made the right choice, and I look forward to working with them on this important project.”
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]