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Niagara County scores another federal brownfields grant

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Mon, Jun 24th 2019 11:55 am

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $9.3 million in supplemental funding for 24 current successful brownfields revolving loan fund (RLF) grantees nationwide.

The supplemental funds will be distributed to communities that have demonstrated success in using their RLF funds to rehabilitate and develop brownfield sites. Funds will be used to continue the progress in reusing vacant and abandoned properties, turning them into community assets such as housing, recreation, health facilities, social services, and commerce opportunities.

Niagara County, which is set to receive $400,000 of this funding, was the only grant recipient in EPA Region 2. This region includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Niagara County Brownfield Program Manager Amy E. Fisk, who has also served as president of the Niagara County Brownfield Development Corp. since its inception in 2008, prepared the application.

“Niagara County has been a leader in brownfield efforts, and the fact that we were awarded another grant from the federal government demonstrates our commitment and progress towards remediating brownfield sites,” Fisk said. “Brownfields cleanup and redevelopment helps revitalize the local economy and results in a cleaner environment and a better quality of life for Niagara County residents.”

Niagara County Economic Development Committee Chairman and 8th District County Legislator Rich Andres stated, “The county’s RLF program has directly impacted my hometown of North Tonawanda by providing loan funds to 600 River Road, which was remediated by Rock One Development and is being developed into a $20 million housing complex right on the Niagara River waterfront. RLF funding is also being used at 211 Main St., to rehabilitate a vacant building into first-class professional office space.”

The new funding will be used to provide low-interest loans (0.5%) to the private sector to carry out cleanup activities at Brownfield sites in the county. When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community.

To date, Niagara County has received $4 million in federal RLF funds while generating $32 million in cleanup and redevelopment at zero cost to Niagara County taxpayers.

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