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November 5, 2010

COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS ACROSS NEW YORK CITY RECEIVE OVER $75,000 IN CITY GRANTS FOR BROWNFIELD CLEANUP AND REVITALIZATION PLANS

Funding distributed to spur cleanup, redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island

            The Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation Director, Daniel Walsh, announced today that four community brownfield planning groups in Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island have received a total of $76,865 in grants to assist in furthering the identification and revitalization of local brownfields. These grants were awarded through the New York City Brownfield Incentive Grant (BIG) Program, and are part of a series of awards that fund activities and projects across New York City to promote cleanup and redevelopment of vacant, underutilized or contaminated sites.

            The grants awarded today aid community based organizations in continuing to focus on activities that lead to brownfield redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization. The BIG Program was launched by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith in June to promote the objectives of PlaNYC, Mayor Bloomberg’s long-term vision for a greener, greater New York, to spur the cleanup and redevelopment of the brownfields throughout the City.

            “Providing support for communities to establish local plans for cleanup and redevelopment of Brownfields is a major goal of PlaNYC,” said Director Walsh.  “The community brownfield planning grants awarded today support development of a grass roots vision, and capacity for community based organizations to cope with this difficult problem.  Community members know best what is needed to revitalize their neighborhoods and we are pleased that the first grant dollars from the Brownfield Incentive Grant (BIG) Program are going directly to support community plans.”

            Recipients of funding include the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, for the Harlem River Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), located in the Bronx; Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc. for the Under the Viaduct BOA, located in Manhattan; Northfield Community Local Development Corporation, for the Port Richmond BOA, located in Staten Island; South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, for the Port Morris BOA and the Eastchester BOA, located in the Bronx.

            “Every grant dollar the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO), receives from the BIG Program translates into more time our staff can spend on brownfield identification and redevelopment in the South Bronx” said Lourdes Zapata, Senior Vice President of SoBRO.  “The Brownfield Opportunity Area Local Match Grants the City has funded are very welcome opportunities for SoBRO to continue our work in the Port Morris and Eastchester BOAs.”

            “City funding from the BIG Program for the Manhattan, Bradhurst and Vicinity Under the Viaduct Brownfield Opportunity Area enables us to make our Brownfield Opportunity Area funding go further towards our goal of assessing the redevelopment potential of brownfield sites in our community,” Said Lucille L. McEwen, President and CEO of Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI). “This grant helps HCCI continue to focus our time and effort on developing a strategic land use plan for North Harlem. Achieving our overall goals for neighborhood revitalization are built upon ridding our community of the eyesores that brownfields impose upon us.”

            “Putting funds directly into the hands of community based organizations is key to bringing about the much needed grassroots level environmental change we strive for in our Brownfield Opportunity Area here along the Harlem River,” said Joyce Hogi, President of The Bronx Council for Environmental Quality. “The BOA Local Match grant we received supports neighborhood empowerment and decision-making at its best.”

             “BIG Program funding allows the Port Richmond BOA to spend additional time and energy on identifying brownfield redevelopment opportunities along the North Shore of Staten Island’s waterfront,” said Joan Catalano, Executive Director of the Northfield Community Local Development Corporation of Staten Island.  “Our vision of a revitalized waterfront and the creation of new maritime job opportunities are bolstered by the BIG program funding.  The BIG Program is a great opportunity for community-based organizations to leverage additional funding.”

            Brownfields are vacant or underutilized properties where real or perceived contamination hinders redevelopment.  The Brownfield Incentive Grant (BIG) Program, launched in June 2010 by Mayor Bloomberg, provides flexible grants for the study and cleanup of brownfield properties in New York City throughout the development process, from the earliest stages of pre-development through environmental investigation and cleanup work.  The Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Program is a brownfield planning grant program operated by the New York State Department of State.  Grants awarded by the City’s Brownfield Incentive Grant (BIG) Program have been provided to satisfy the local match required by the BOA Program.     

For more information on the NYC BIG Program, visit www.nyc.gov/BIG or contact the Mayor's Office of Environmental Remediation by calling 311.

Contact:           Josslyn Shapiro                                    (212) 341-3704                     (212) 341-3704

   
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