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EPA Names Watertown For National Brownfields Pilot Award; One of Four New York Communities To Get New $200,000 Grants

Release Date: 06/21/1999
Contact Information: Rich Cahill (212) 637-3666 /

(#99102) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced its selection of Watertown for a $200,000 Brownfields Economic Revitalization Initiative grant. It is one of four New York communities to be named in the latest round of a national competition for Brownfields pilot projects. The cities of Albany and Schenectady and the Seneca Nation, one of New York's seven federally-recognized Indian Nations, were also selected for the awards. The Brownfields Initiative is aimed at the renewal of industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.

The City of Watertown will use its $200,000 grant from EPA to focus on four parcels of an abandoned, former industrial facility situated on an island in the Black River. EPA funds will be used to perform site assessments and create a community advisory group. The pilot site is targeted for redevelopment as mixed industrial, commercial, and recreational use, including a park. Watertown will receive the funds once it works out the conditions of the grant with EPA over the next few months.

"EPA extends it congratulations to Watertown for its success against stiff competition from other communities across the country," said EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox. "It makes good sense to redevelop existing sites and revitalize old neighborhoods, easing the pressure to develop open spaces in order to grow. We must do all we can to preserve the remaining "green fields" in urban areas that are so critical to a decent quality of life," she added.

EPA's Administrator Carol Browner, visiting Albany today to announce the latest round of new grants, said..."There is no greater example of the environment and the economy working hand-in-hand to benefit the American people than the Administration's efforts to clean up and revitalize brownfields," said EPA Administrator Browner. "Across the nation, our cities are coming back to life due in part to the new jobs and new opportunities created by brownfields revitalization."

Through this new round of $200,000 grants, Albany will compile an inventory of its brownfields sites, perform environmental assessments of selected sites and conduct community outreach activities; Schenectady will inventory the city's brownfields sites, select three sites for assessment and create a forum for community involvement; and the Seneca Nation will conduct site assessment of an 18-acre section of a 99-acre railroad switchyard area. Possible reuses of the rail property include a parking area, buildings, recreational bike path or pedestrian walkway, or a tourist/scenic railway facility.

Since 1995, EPA has granted 307 pilots, allowing communities to begin the process of redeveloping brownfields. There are 17 communities in New York that have been awarded brownfields grants. Johnstown is the most recent addition to the list. In addition to the four communities announced today, Niagara Falls, Buffalo, New York City, Rome, Rochester, Johnstown, Elmira, Glen Cove, Niagara County, Ulster County, Utica, Ogdensburg and Yonkers have also received brownfields grants in past years.

Control of these projects rests at the community level. Local officials, bankers, developers and community representatives define the problems and design the solutions. EPA's role is to support and facilitate this process and to act as a catalyst for change. For more information about EPA's Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative visit: 

For more information contact:
Richard Cahill, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3666 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: