A section of Amsterdam is now included in a state program aimed at helping communities revitalize areas through planning, grants and tax credits, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
The state included the 104-acre section of Amsterdam’s waterfront and downtown among 12 new “Brownfield Opportunity Areas” statewide, bringing the total number of such areas to 38.
The designation is intended to help local officials put together strategies to improve areas impacted by dormant and blighted properties.
Projects in those areas get priority status for grants and developers can access tax credit incentives, according to the state.
“It’s another tool for us to help turn the corner over where we were and where we’re going,” Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa said Monday.
Villa said he’s already begun meetings with development officials and he hopes to identify projects that can be undertaken immediately and others that may need a longer time frame.
The Amsterdam area is dubbed the Waterfront Heritage Brownfield Opportunity Area and it encompasses the waterfront and downtown area.
In all, the area includes 14 brownfield, vacant or under-utilized sites, according to the state. The goals are to strengthen the city’s commercial core and tax base.
Areas of focus will be the Chalmers site, streetscape improvements, telecommunications and relocation of the Amsterdam Train Station to the downtown core.
The area has already seen work through the soon-to-be-opened Mohawk Valley Gateway Pedestrian Bridge spanning the river. The bridge is set to open Labor Day.
The Amsterdam area is the only one of the 12 new areas in the Capital Region. The state gave a similar designation to Rotterdam Junction in December.
“The designation of Brownfield Opportunity Areas facilitates the restoration and development of devastated communities across the state,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Each of these sites possesses tremendous potential for economic development and job creation, and these designations will equip local partners with the resources they need to implement their vision for community revitalization.”
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, and state Sen. George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, whose districts cover Amsterdam, both welcomed the designation Monday.
Santabarbara called it “wonderful news.”
“I think it adds to the momentum of moving the city in right direction,” Santabarbara said of the Amsterdam designation.
In a statement, Amedore said, “I’m happy to see this site designated as a Brownfield site — it will encourage redevelopment of the site that will spur economic development and investment into the community.”