Mount Vernon has received $354,607 to revitalize brownfields around Mount Vernon East train station, three years after applying. The money will allow the city to study ground pollution and potential redevelopment of the area around the station. The roughly 29-acre area includes nine brownfields sites and two vacant ones.
Mount Vernon is one of 26 communities that received funding to revitalize brownfields — former commercial or industrial properties where the presence or potential presence of contamination has impeded redevelopment. The state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas grants totaled $10 million.
“Brownfield redevelopment is essential to encouraging growth in distressed communities throughout the state,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “These grants make that possible by creating opportunities to turn dormant sites into vibrant properties that attract jobs and private investment – in the end helping to revitalize once-blighted areas.”
Grants have gone to investigations of site contamination, environmental impact assessments, economic and market studies, redevelopment plans, public forums and other projects and activities, the governor said.
The Mount Vernon brownfields include land owned by the city, the railroad and private property owners. The study will help determine the cost and feasibility of redevelopment, rezone the area and pinpoint contaminated land that would have to be cleaned up before redevelopment could take place.
City officials said in 2010 that the parcels are among the most developable land in Mount Vernon, and they would like to see more dense housing and business development downtown and easily accessible to public transportation.
State officials said a redeveloped brownfield site has the potential to create up to 91 jobs through cleanup, construction and new businesses. Redeveloped brownfields have boosted property values between 5 percent and 15 percent within a quarter mile of the redeveloped site.
“The flexibility and proven track record of the BOA program to reverse the cycle of disinvestment and decay in communities impacted by multiple brownfields has helped achieve economic revitalization goals in New York’s urban, suburban and rural communities,” Jody Kass of the nonprofit New Partners for Community Revitalization said in a statement. “New York’s unique area-wide BOA approach has become a national model that is now being applied in 26 states in 43 communities across the country.”
(Journal News file photo of commuters boarding a diesel train at the Metro-North Mount Vernon East Station during the recent New Haven Line power outage.)