Sites in the city get brownfield opportunity designation

Opportunity knocks

Edgewood site where cleanup is currently underway in anticipation for a cold storage facility.

Fifteen sites primed for development in the city of Dunkirk received the state’s designation as brownfield opportunity areas, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

“It’s a really big deal for us,” Mayor Willie Rosas said. “We proposed this a while back. It’s the first time we got this.”

With the designation, tax incentives will be available to those looking to cleanup and develop brownfield sites identified within the city’s Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) plan. Designations are based on plans the city conducted that reflect local conditions in the community.

“It’s really attractive to developers who want to come into a community that’s BOA designated because they get those extra credits and incentives to come develop here,” said Rebecca Yanus, city director of planning and development. “It’s a huge impact for bringing economic development to a community.”

City officials developed a plan that assessed existing conditions and future development potential of former brownfield, vacant or underutilized properties in the city where economic growth and revitalization can be achieved. Notable sites receiving brownfield opportunity area designation are Roblin Steel Industrial Corridor, which includes the former steel plant, former Edgewood Warehouse on South Roberts Road where cleanup work is underway, former Alumax Extrusions facility that underwent remediation and Cott Beverages Plant.

The former Al-Tech Specialty Steel site on Lucas Avenue that underwent cleanup and NRG’s Dunkirk Power Plant also received designation. Property in the waterfront district between Tim Hortons and the Clarion on Lake Shore Drive East received designation. Discussions continue with hopes to bring a hotel to the site.

A large undeveloped tract of land, north and east of Wright Park Drive and Otter Street, and the Central Business District, north of East Seventh Street between Eagle Street and Washington Avenue, also received designation.

“These designations will equip local leaders with the necessary tools to turn these community blights into engines of economic opportunity and revitalization,” Cuomo said. “With these actions, we are helping to create a stronger New York for all.”

Prior to receiving designation Wednesday, the city received planning grants in the amount of $303,750 through the state’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program. Grants were utilized to develop revitalization strategies to promote redevelopment and enhanced environmental quality within areas affected by the presence of brownfields. The Department of State accepted the nominations for these brownfield opportunity areas and determined that they meet the necessary requirements and criteria for designation.

“A Brownfield Opportunity Area designation not only signifies our commitment to assisting the communities to reach their own goals for revitalization, but also provides real incentives to attract transformative private and public investment to these blighted areas,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado.

In addition to Dunkirk, the city of Jamestown has 710 acres and at least 11 brownfield sites designated as brownfield opportunity areas. The designations for both cities brought praise from state Sen. Cathy Young, Assemblyman Andy Goodell and Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello.

“These opportunities have the potential to bring new life to even more neighborhoods by revitalizing underutilized properties, creating jobs for residents in Jamestown and Dunkirk,” Young said.

“I am confident that these designations will result in increased economic growth for these communities and the entire region,” Goodell said. “I thank Governor Cuomo and the community leaders for working to make these designations a reality.”

“I am pleased that two new areas are being designated in our county,” Borrello said. “These two new brownfield sites will assist with the revitalization of these communities while promoting productive reuse of those sites and protecting our region’s most precious resources.”