Brownfields Revitalization Initiative for South Bronx
s part of a state-wide tour, New York Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez joined the Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice to announce the state’s Brownfields Smart Growth “Spotlight Communities” Initiative for the South Bronx. This initiative is designed to advance, through a state-local partnership, how existing state programs can support and complement local efforts to redevelop brownfields and simultaneously achieve neighborhood revitalization and smart growth objectives. The South Bronx is one of three communities state-wide that has been selected to be a part of the “Spotlight Communities” Initiative.
The South Bronx project was chosen due to the unique partnership involving three local community organizations Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, The Point Community Development Corporation and Sustainable South Bronx that are working together to revitalize the southern portion of the Bronx River corridor. Extensive public input has led to community consensus for revitalization that allows for: a balanced mix of uses including housing, retail, and manufacturing; restoration of and improved access to the Bronx River; and improved transportation infrastructure.
Today’s event follows Governor David A. Paterson’s announcement of the Brownfields Smart Growth Spotlight Communities Initiative, which links communities participating in the state’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) Program with agencies on the Governor’s Smart Growth Cabinet and others to improve coordination to support the timely implementation of redevelopment projects.
Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez said: “The South Bronx BOA Plan will not only help to improve the Bronx River waterfront and surrounding areas, but also will serve as a shining example in our state of how community organizations can drive the process to achieve community revitalization. Through environmental clean-up, economic revitalization and economic equity, the South Bronx project is the perfect example of Smart Growth planning at work — a bottom-up process driven by the localities and supported by the state.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis said: “New York State is committed to environmental health and to the revitalization of communities across the state. Initiatives like the Spotlight Communities program promote environmental justice through the cleanup and beneficial development of abandoned industrial properties like those along the Bronx River. This program is a clear example of how positive initiatives and partnerships between community-based organizations, municipalities and New York State can come together to clean up brownfields and provide environmental, recreational, economic, and health benefits from the reuse of these areas across the state.”
Assemblyman Carl E. Heastie said: “Governor David Paterson and Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez should be commended for the Spotlight Communities initiative. It represents an investment in a sustainable future for the Bronx, and the entire state. Investing in Smart Growth and sustainable development will create a prosperous and competitive New York in the 21st century economy. In addition, by targeting investment in the South Bronx, the Governor shows that he understands the vast potential of the borough and its key role in the long-term economic health of our City and State.”
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said: “The importance of brownfield remediation to the Bronx is significant as The Bronx has 476 contaminated sites, 41 of which are brownfields, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Each of these sites represents an unfulfilled opportunity for economic and community development in the Bronx. We want to thank the Governor’s Office for engaging and assisting our communities in developing and implementing revitalization plans for these areas.”
The Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) Program provides a new area-wide approach, rather than the traditional site by site approach, to brownfield assessment and redevelopment. The area-wide approach enables communities to comprehensively assess existing economic and environmental conditions associated with brownfield blight and impacted areas, identify and prioritize community supported redevelopment opportunities and to attract public and private investment to implement projects.
The BOA Program enables municipalities and community organizations to prepare area-wide revitalization plans that include: community visioning; existing conditions analysis; economic and market studies to assist in determining the best use of brownfields and vacant sites; environmental investigations; site-specific redevelopment plans; environmental impact assessments and statements; marketing materials to attract developer interest; local law changes; and other actions to spur investment, clean-up and redevelopment of brownfield sites. The program is currently being used by close to 100 local communities across the state and is administered by the Department of State.