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Brownfields Funding Held Up in Albany

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Advocates for revitalizing brownfields in New York say a 2003 law passed by the State Legislature has had a minimal impact. They say million of dollars appropriated by state legislators remain bottled up in Albany.

There are thousands of acres of brownfields in the Buffalo area -- contaminated eyesores that are a drain on the local economy. They stand vacant, some in the midst of poor neighborhoods, contributing to the downward spiral of disinvestment.

The 2003 law included a program called that would allow communities to create a Brownfield Opportunity Area. Jeff Jones of the group, New Partners for Community Revitalization, says the BOA allows a community to take a holistic approach to revitalizing brownfields.

Nearly $75 million has been appropriated for the BOA program. But less than one percent has been disbursed to communities. One of the BOAs in the Buffalo area is the area along the Lake Erie waterfront that was once home to the local steel industry. It's earmarked for $600,000.

Mathy Stanislaus, a founder of New Partners, says it's time for Governor Spitzer and legislative leaders to allow the money to flow.

Stanislaus says the brownfields program is a perfect way for Spitzer to advance his goal of revitalizing upstate's struggling cities.

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