County secures brownfield funds

Brian Higgins

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Niagara County will receive nearly half a million dollars in federal funding through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assist in the clean up of contaminated former industrial properties. 

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, announced the $450,000 allocation from the EPA's Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grant Program this week. Higgins said the industrial history of the region was "rich" but left a polluted legacy.

"This federal funding provides the community with resources to remediate these properties, preparing the sites for new use that meets the needs of today’s economy," Higgins said. 

In a statement from his office, Higgins indicated that the money will be routed to the Niagara County's Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan fund, which provided financing to local remediation projects since 2008.

Niagara County Legislator Richard Andres, R-North Tonawanda, said the program has had a significant impact on his community. 

“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 Street to rehabilitate a vacant building into first class professional office space," he said. 

The goal of the Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Program is to leverage public and private funds to redevelop sites and create jobs. Additionally, the program opens brownfield sites for new opportunity, lessening the demand on outlying greenfield properties. 

“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”, according to Niagara County Brownfield Program Manager Amy Fisk. “Brownfields cleanup and redevelopment helps revitalize the local economy and results in a cleaner environment and better quality of life for Niagara County residents.”

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