Latest grant acknowledges 'progress Niagara County has made'
by Christian W. Peck
Public Information Officer
Niagara County Public Information Office
Niagara County's brownfields will have an additional $200,000 available for rehabilitation loans after county and state leaders were notified by the EPA that they had succeeded in securing additional funding for the county's successful brownfields revitalization efforts.
The news came in a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency, which stated in part that the EPA was "pleased to see the progress Niagara County has made, and wish you continued success."
The funds will be made available for brownfields revitalization through the county's Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund.
The EPA funds are the latest windfall for Niagara County's efforts to rehabilitate sites contaminated by pollutants, and follow a number of high-profile clean-up efforts by the county in recent years, including several former industrial and military sites in the city of Lockport, Cambria and Niagara Falls.
"This is the result of a great deal of collaborative effort on the part of our planners at the Niagara County Center for Economic Development, local elected leaders like Lockport Mayor Mike Tucker, State Senator George D. Maziarz and local industry," Niagara County Legislature Economic Development Committee Chairman Rick Updegrove said. "All parties that sought these funds want to see a better, safer future for our local families - and we want to see job-creating re-use of brownfields whenever possible."
Updegrove noted that the county's brownfields efforts had led to rehabilitation of sites such as the Dussault Foundry in Lockport - an effort that kicked into high-gear last July when a top local EPA official visited the City of Lockport to meet with Updegrove, Tucker, Maziarz, and other local leaders and tour the foundry site.
"There is a challenging environmental legacy here in the Niagara region," Updegrove said. "But our partners at various levels of government, including EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck, officials with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Senator Maziarz, and our city and town leaders have scored real victories in restoring our environment."
Updegrove also had high praise for county employees involved in the efforts.
"Economic Development Commissioner Sam Ferraro and Senior Planner Amy Fisk, who heads up most of our county's brownfields revitalization efforts, have done a fantastic job in securing these funds," he said. "We all look forward to seeing this funding put to use bettering our community."