SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Land Bank — known officially as the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation — will use a $600,000 federal grant to assess sites for hazardous substances and petroleum contamination.
The brownfields assessment coalition grant includes $450,000 for hazardous substances and $150,000 for assessment of petroleum contamination, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said.
“This funding will enable the Greater Syracuse Land Bank to acquire and test dozens of potentially contaminated, abandoned properties to better understand the work that is needed to clean and redevelop them, removing what can often be the biggest barrier to reinvestment — the unknown,” Katelyn Wright, executive director of the Greater Syracuse Land Bank, said in an EPA news release.
The Syracuse Land Bank will use the funding to update the existing inventory of brownfield sites and conduct community outreach activities, the EPA said.
The target areas include the urban core of the city of Syracuse and the villages of Solvay and Marcellus. Coalition partners are the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency and the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency.
“The Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation … is essential to making stronger neighborhoods in the city. With additional help from the EPA, the [Syracuse] Land Bank will have more tools to address legacy environmental conditions that can limit our ability to revive properties. We greatly appreciate the EPA’s support,” Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said in the EPA release.
The EPA selected 149 communities across the country for the brownfields funding. Of those, 108 have identified sites or targeted areas in census tracts designated as federal opportunity zones, the EPA said. An opportunity zone is an “economically-distressed” community where new investment, under certain conditions, “may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.”
The grant to the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation will address opportunity zones in targeted areas, the EPA said.
As of May 2019, under the EPA brownfields program, 30,153 properties have been assessed, and 86,131 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use brownfields grants to leverage 150,120 jobs and more than $28 billion of public and private funding.
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