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Forums on reuse of Amsterdam brownfield sites set

Forums on reuse of Amsterdam brownfield sites set

City wants input from community
Forums on reuse of Amsterdam brownfield sites set
Amanda Bearcroft, director of community and economic development for Amsterdam, is pictured at City Hall last February.
Photographer: Erica Miller

AMSTERDAM -- How should the city should redevelop its East End, including the Riverfront Center? Amanda Bearcroft and the city's Brownfield Opportunity Area steering committee would like to know.

Bearcoft, the city's community and economic development director, and the BOA steering committee are hosting three forums next week that will provide information designed to spark ideas about the potential redevelopment of sites within the city's two Brownfield Opportunity Areas. 

The forums will be held on Wednesday at these times and locations:  
• 9 a.m., in the restaurant area of the Riverfront Center, the center of the former mall. More information can be obtained by calling Bearcroft at 518-841-4304 or by email at [email protected]

• 4 to 5 p.m., at the Horace J. Inman Senior Citizens Center, 53 Guy Park Ave. More information can be obtained by calling the Inman Center Director Bob Verhayden, 518-842-3815.

• Noon, at the Rotary meeting, at the Raindancer Restaurant, 4582 Route 30.

"On Wednesday [at these forums] we'll be doing some public walkabouts, so we can talk some more about these strategic sites," Bearcroft said. 

Amsterdam received two grants totaling $194,400 in 2018, part of a $2 million initiative to provide Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program grants to 13 municipalities. The funding is used to create revitalization strategy studies for the economically distressed areas. 

Brownfields are defined as abandoned or underutilized properties where known or suspected environmental contamination has impeded redevelopment efforts. The state BOA Program aims to spur revitalization through transforming dormant sites into productive properties that attract jobs and private investment, helping expand local tax bases.

The Pre-Nomination Step 1 study for the two BOAs was completed in 2015. The current studies include economic and market trends analyses, along with identification and reuse potential of strategic sites in the BOAs that could be catalysts for revitalization.

"We're using this process to kind of create mini-comprehensive plans for these areas, because our comprehensive plan is so old, and we don't really have a focus on these two neighborhoods," Bearcroft said. "Not only are we looking at contaminated sites, but we're also looking at other sites in the area that could be strategic for redevelopment." 

These are Amsterdam's two BOA locations: 

• The East End BOA, approximately 129 acres located east of downtown along the Mohawk River, encompassing the Riverfront Center and Lower Mill area. At least nine potential brownfield sites are in the East End area.

"We included the mall in this step two of the process, because we wanted to show it's a strategic site; in case anything happens in the future, we can show some forethought that we were looking at what the possibilities are for that parcel," Bearcroft said. 

• The Northern Neighborhoods BOA  is approximately 309 acres located north of downtown and roughly follows North Chuctanunda Creek, encompassing Five Corners and the old Sunoco Mills paper mill site. At least 35 potential brownfield sites are within the Northern Neighborhoods area.

These are the members of the city's BOA steering committee:

Bearcroft, Mayor Michael Cinquanti, Urban Blight & Zombie Properties Coordinator Kamile Brody, Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce Director of Tourism Anne Boles, Centro Civico consultant Ladan Alomar, Liberty ARC CEO Jennifer Saunders, Amsterdam Housing Authority Executive Director Damaris Carbone, the Foundation of St. Mary's Healthcare Executive Director Brigitta Giulianelli, Montgomery County Business Development Center Senior Planner Alex Kuttesch, Wishful Thinking & The Creative Connections Clubhouse's John Sumpter, Wishful Thinking & The Creative Connections Clubhouse's Casey Martin and community member Gina DaBiere-Gibbs.

Bearcroft said people who can't make the forums may fill out online surveys at surveymonkey.com/r/EastEndBOA and surveymonkey.com/r/NorthernNeighborhoodsBOA. 

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