Gloversville seeks public input on brownfields

A Gloversville brownfield is seen in 2019.

The city of Gloversville has published an online Brownfield Opportunity Areas [BOA] survey seeking input from city residents regarding what kind of economic development they would like to see happen at the various brownfield properties within the city.

The survey is one of the requirements of the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Step 2 Nomination Study, one of the steps necessary for getting the state designations needed for the city to tap into tax credits and other funding to help clean up polluted brownfields.

According to information posted to www.gloversvilleboa.com, the area the city would like to nominate for designation as a BOA includes 197 acres located along the Cayudutta Creek Corridor and includes 81 potential brownfield and underutilized sites to be evaluated for contamination clean-up and redevelopment.

“We’d like as much participation as possible,” Mayor Vince DeSantis said. “What we’re doing is we’re designating the center part of the city, a large swath of the city as what’s called a BOA, a Brownfield Opportunity Area, which creates a lot of benefits, tax credits for developers who can redevelop former industrial sites that are compromised by pollution. So, in the process of designating the area, the city formulates kind of its vision for these areas, what some of these brownfields should become, and so, we’ve put this survey out there, and we really encourage participation.”

The online survey will be used as part of the nomination process for part of the city to be designated as a NYS Brownfield Opportunity Area. The nomination process requires a strategic plan for how to transform the brownfields into economically productive properties that can help create jobs and expand the city’s tax base.

“I think one of the most exciting things we are able to do now, that we haven’t been able to do in decades and decades, is put ourselves in a position to clean up these brownfields sites,” DeSantis said.

Since 2019 Gloversville has received two grants — the $225,000 Brownfield Opportunity Area Study grant and then later the $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant — both of which have helped to pay for the process of identifying and then remediating the city’s brownfield sites, which are former industrial sites, mostly former leather tanneries, that have contaminated soil that often requires costly clean-up projects before the properties can be reused. Many of Gloversville’s brownfields have sat derelict for a long time.

“These former tannery sites and other brownfield sites, they depress the value of whole neighborhoods, because a lot of them are surrounded by residential areas,” DeSantis said. “So, really this is a big opportunity for the city because once these plans are submitted to the state and we have a designated BOA we can apply for major funds to actually clean up these sites.”

The online survey is scheduled to remain open for public comment until Dec. 22 and can be found at this website: www.surveymonkey.com/r/GloversvilleBOA_VOH

“The BOA Nomination Study will build on the recommendations of the Gloversville Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Application, Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP), as well as the City’s EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant, which focused on abandoned tannery sites on the banks of the Cayadutta Creek and Gloversville’s Southern Gateway,” reads the statement on the Virtual Open House page for the online survey.

By Jason Subik

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