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Federal Brownfields Act Announced in Syracuse at Community Health Center Project

Chris Bolt/WAER News

Some of New York’s congressional representatives are using a Syracuse project as an example of why the U-S needs better toxic clean-up laws.  A new federal proposal announced Monday could help the city’s economy.

Here on South Salina Street Syracuse Community Health Center Director Doctor Ruben Cowart has some big plans.

This building specifically is intended  to be the beginning of the first phase of a multi-phased revitalization of the 800 block and 900 block of South Salina Street

The former industrial site and several others will be leveled to make way for what could eventually be four new health buildings.  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s new brownfields development act could help

The bill (details here) recognizes that the costs of cleaning up past contamination is a barrier to bringing brownfield sites back into markets by increasing the funding ceiling for cleanup grants and allowing funds to be used also for administrative costs. 

Assessing and cleanup of old industrial sites averages about 600-thousand dollars.  The bill would make it easier to review sites, and helps with waterfront and green energy projects on brownfields. 

Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News
Former industrial building at 930 South Salina will be razed, but needs environmental remediation before any new construction.

Centerstate CEO’s Deb Warner has seen the potential of these cleanups.

We’ve been pretty great in our community at remediating some of these sites. We’ve got some astounding successes such as Onondaga lake, the Papermill Island in Baldwinsville and Destiny and others.  But there are so many polluted sites that remain in our region but these sites can have a future if we have tools like this to work with

Gillibrand has bi-partisan support…Dan Maffei spnosors the bill in the house.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.