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Brownfield Program

Due to Fulton County’s long industrial history, numerous brownfields litter the the county’s urban centers and waterways. It is a familiar scene – an abandoned gas station, a dilapidated manufacturing facility, an empty or run-down warehouse. The site is known in your community as an “eyesore,” and could even be considered a hazard. Now imagine that site transformed into a bustling public park, a shared community garden, a revitalized commercial space, or a thriving new business.

What is a brownfield?

A brownfield is defined as: real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or further defines the term to include a site that is: “contaminated by a controlled substance; contaminated by petroleum or a petroleum product excluded from the definition of ‘hazardous substance’; or mine-scarred land.”

What is an EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant?

Developers ignore these sites due to the unknown environmental issues and potential costs to address the environmental issues. To address these unknown environmental issues, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth recently received a $300,000 EPA Brownfield Assessment grant to establish a Brownfields Program that will identify, assess, investigate, complete community outreach, and create conceptual site reuse plans as detailed below.

  • Inventory Brownfield Sites

    Complete an inventory of sites that have the potential for on-site contamination. These sites may include gasoline stations, drycleaners, industrial sites, auto repair shops and residential or commercial building that contain hazardous building materials such as asbestos, lead paint to PCBs.

  • Conduct Phase I Site Assessments

    A review of the site records, site inspection and interview knowledgeable personnel to evaluate if any historical or current site operations have the potential to adversely impact the site.

  • Conduct Phase II Environmental Assessment

    If adverse site conditions are noted, then a Phase II is recommended. The purpose of the Phase II is to collect field samples (i.e., soil/groundwater) to determine if the site was adversely impacted.

  • Conduct Community Participation

    Engage the community to identify Brownfields and potential site uses, and build consensus around site uses.

  • Complete Site Development Plans

    Based on community input, conceptual site drawing can be laid out.

  • Develop Cleanup Plans

    Based on the Phase II and Conceptual Site Development Plan a cleanup plan can be negotiated with the NYSDEC which will provide clarity to site remediation costs.

Let us be clear, it is not easy, and it takes tireless doggedness to obtain the funding and align the community’s vision to make it happen. The key to success is that communities must have a desire to make improvements and a clear plan that includes sites they wish to address, potential funding sources, potential future site uses and community support.

Assessing and remediating a brownfield site leads to new development opportunities, which enhances neighborhood property values and increases the municipal tax base.

Redeveloped properties may also create more walkable communities, helping residents who might not have access to vehicles have safer access to schools, hospitals, and grocery stores. An additional benefit is the ability for a municipality to generate funds through an increase in local taxes. This growth and renewal can create jobs. Two recent studies indicated cleaning up brownfield sites can lead to a 5-15 percent increase in value of properties located 1.29 miles from a site.

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