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Developers seek extension of brownfields program

Chris Caya/WBFO news

There's some good news out of Albany for local economic development in this area, with Governor Cuomo saying he will sign brownfields legislation.

Most people around here know what brownfields are, once-industrialized sites now laying fallow because they have to be cleaned up. New York has a program to help pay for the clean up but it's an on-again, off-again program because major developers in New York City put hundreds of millions of dollars into their coffers by using what was intended as more of an Upstate program.

The governor will sign a much-reduced extension of the program while all sides consider a long-term approach.

Developer Mark Croce says it's not just old industrial sites which can use the program and make projects economically feasible. Croce says he has been trying to develop a Franklin Street site which was once a dry cleaner.

"It's taken seven or eight years to work its way through the process and do the cleanup and meet the DEC's guidelines. And, I have another application that was recently rejected by the DEC, even though it qualified."

Croce says that cleanup of a small piece of property has cost around $1 million to dig up soil and sewer lines contaminated by dry cleaning solution. He still doesn't have state permission to develop the site.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.