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Port Jervis to Receive EPA Grant for Brownfields Cleanup

Release Date: 01/08/2004
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(#04005) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today presented a ceremonial check for grants totaling $325,000 to the city of Port Jervis, New York. The money will be used to clean up two sites, which Port Jervis has redevelopment plans for: the former Erie-Lackawanna Railroad yard and the former State Wide Oil property, both now abandoned and contaminated with petroleum wastes.

Lisa Krupunich, City Clerk Treasurer, Congresswoman Sue Kelly, Mayor Gary Lopriore, EPA Regional Administrator Jane Kenny, and  Kathleen Hendrickson, Director of the Port Jervis Community  Development Agency at Port Jervis Brownfields Event."Through the Brownfields Program, abandoned sites can be cleaned up and returned to productive use," said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. "Today's grants will help Port Jervis prepare the sites for redevelopment, assisting its efforts to enhance educational and recreational activities, revitalize its downtown, create jobs and ultimately making this community safer." Joining Administrator Kenny wereCongresswoman Sue Kelly and Port Jervis Mayor Gary Lopriore.

The 2-acre former State Wide Oil facility, on East Main Street, where today's announcement was made, was acquired by the city in 1998. Previous operations by the petroleum supplier contaminated the site with petroleum products. While a regional nonprofit agency is interested in developing the site for a new Head Start pre-school, it has been too expensive for the agency to clean up the site, and development has been delayed.

The former Erie-Lackawanna Railroad yard, commonly referred to as the "Roundhouse" property, is an 8.67-acre parcel obtained by the city of Port Jervis in 1988. Although zoned for both industrial and central business district use, developers have been unwilling to use the property because it is contaminated, and the eyesore remains after being abandoned by the railroad more than 30 years ago.

Under the 2002 federal Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, signed January 11, 2002, EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through four competitive grant programs: assessment grants, revolving loan fund grants, cleanup grants and job training grants. This legislation provides communities the tools they need to reclaim and restore thousands of brownfield sites, including petroleum sites that present relatively low risk. It also allows local governments and nonprofit organizations to apply for funding, greatly expanding eligibility for assistance. $166.6 million was set aside for brownfields grants in 2003, and EPA expects a similar amount is 2004. To date, the Agency has given money to 33 communities in New York to support local brownfields revitalization.