Fulton County set to host brownfields summit

A Gloversville brownfield is seen in 2019.

JOHNSTOWN — Local, state and federal officials are set to gather at the Johnstown-Gloversville Holiday Inn for a two-day “Mohawk Valley Brownfield Development Summit” on Oct. 6 to 7.

Speakers scheduled for the summit include: Assemblyman Robert Smullen, R-Johnstown, SUNY Cobleskill President Marion Terenzio. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Deputy Walter Mugdan — and the keynote speaker — U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-NY.

The summit is being organized by the leadership of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council, which oversees the six counties in the Mohawk Valley: Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and Schoharie.

Stephen Smith, the executive vice president and CEO of the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, explained the purpose of the meeting in a news release posted by Mayor Vince DeSantis to Gloversville City Hall’s Facebook page.

“The summit will tie in the Mohawk Valley’s economic leaders, the brownfield sites ready for restoration, and America’s brownfield developers looking to acquire sites for future economic growth,” Smith said.

A brownfield is a former industrial site — like a leather tannery — that likely has soil contaminated with chemicals that would need to be remediated before the land could be redeveloped.

Gloversville was one of three cities in the state in 2019 to receive a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant from the EPA. The EPA grant is aimed at helping the city assess the level of soil contamination at about 10 former industrial sites. The grant pays for what are called phase one and phase two environmental assessments that provide detailed information and cost estimates for remediating the pollution and redeveloping the properties.

In 2019, the city also received a $225,000 Brownfield Opportunity Area Nomination Study grant from the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation for performing environmental assessments for hazardous substances located within 197 acres along the Cayudutta Creek Corridor. Because the Cayudatta Creek Corridor has been labeled a Brownfield Opportunity Area, it is eligible for additional grant funding and tax credits are available for redevelopment projects.

According to the news release about the summit, brownfield properties in the Mohawk Valley could be looked at for an estimated $2 billion worth of private of investment that is expected to occur around the federal and state investments in locations like at the $1 billion Marcy Nanocenter site on the campus of SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica.

“The summit will showcase prioritized sites for redevelopment on a dedicated and interactive website,” reads the summit news release. “Seasoned experts from the public and private sectors will address redevelopment issues including: the valley’s needs, redevelopment opportunities, leveraging, incentives and why businesses are investing in the valley.”

Some of the brownfields set to be discussed at the summit include:

• Gloversville — the former Tradition Leather site at 41 West 11th Ave., the Decca Records site at 80 Lincoln St. and the Daniel Hays property, 177 W. Fulton St.

• Montgomery County — the West Main Street Gateway area in the city of Amsterdam located at 399 W. Main St., the former Amsterdam Paper Mill in the city of Amsterdam, 58-62 Forest Ave., and the former Two Medical Linen property at 10-12 New St., St. Johnsville.

Individuals interested in attending the summit must register online at https://mvedd.org/about-brownfields-1.

By Paul Wager