The city has received a $58,500 grant from the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Brownfield Opportunity Area grant program to research the best blocks for redevelopment on the city’s North Side.
The city has already been working with DEC to find cleanup opportunities on the city’s South Side through the Via Ponte project. Last year, the city received $85,000 for studies of reclaiming brownfields, sites with environmental contamination from previous industrial uses.
Both of the studies required a 10 percent local match of funds. The Common Council approved nearly $17,000 at its last meeting, for the North and South sides combined, from the city’s Capital Projects Reserve Fund.
According to Robert Holzman of Saratoga Associates, project manager for the South Side Via Ponte project, the grant for the North and South sides will allow the city to receive more funding at a later time.
“Going through a process like this sets the city up to get more funding from other state and federal agencies and nonprofit groups,” Holzman said. “Funding providers like to see that the city has gone through a rational planning process, and the projects are part of something bigger.”
On the North Side of the city, Holzman said he has looked at five areas of possible redevelopment through the Brownfield Opportunity Area grant program process: Mohasco, Five Corners and areas on Willow, Edward, and DeGraff streets.
“We want to pick one of those to really look at and do similar work to what we’ve been doing on the South Side,” Holzman said.
Holzman said while Saratoga Associates has been working on the South Side Via Ponte project for a little over a year, residents shouldn’t become discouraged about the lack of visible change.
Holzman has set up a seven-member committee that has had its first meeting.
He said he is “tying up loose ends” by waiting for agencies to receive necessary approvals and release money to start work.
For example, Holzman said, the work on Bridge Street was supposed to begin this summer, but was postponed pending approval from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the completion of a right-of-way survey by the state Department of Transportation.
“The hard thing about this is a lot of work has been done, but it’s not work that is visible,” Holzman said. “There are people who get frustrated because they don’t see what’s happening.”
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Categories: Schenectady County