City, state, and federal partnerships highlight annual community revitalization forum

The Brooklyn Paper
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Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez announced a new initiative, the Place-Based Regional Collaboration Pilot, which strengthens the partnership between New York State and the federal government to advance community revitalization. The Secretary made the announcement at the New Partners for Community Revitalization 2nd Annual Brownfields Forum.

This announcement builds on and expands the Brownfields Smart Growth “Spotlight Communities” Initiative, announced last year by Governor David A. Paterson, which is a state-local partnership, which capitalizes on commitments from existing state programs and resources to support the implementation of locally generated Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Plans to advance neighborhood revitalization.

Brownfield Opportunity Area Plans use an area-wide approach, rather than the traditional site by site approach, to brownfield assessment and redevelopment. BOA 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.

To launch the pilot, the Department of State and partner state and federal agencies will conduct a series of regional workshops over the next two years involving multiple communities, which will focus on advancing feasible projects.

Looking to take advantage of new opportunities to promote community renewal, brownfields redevelopment, green jobs and economic growth, more than 250 city, state, and national redevelopment leaders came together for the event, organized and led by New Partners for Community Revitalization (NPCR), a New York not-for-profit that works with community groups, developers, lenders, and government to develop innovative solutions to the disinvestment and decay associated with multiple brownfield sites in low income neighborhoods and communities of color. The event was hosted by National Grid at the energy company’s New York City corporate office in Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Plaza.

National Grid Vice President for Energy Solution Services Metro New York Joe Rende said, “Safeguarding the environment for future generations is part of National Grid’s vision, and supporting redevelopment of brownfields is essential to bringing action to that vision. National Grid is happy to host NPCR’s 2nd Annual Brownfields Forum. We applaud NPCR for bringing together community, commercial, government and nonprofit partners to discuss policies, programs and projects to build sustainable communities.”

Brownfields are contaminated legacy properties left over from the industrial growth of previous generations. Many of New York’s neighborhoods are plagued by multiple brownfield sites, making area-wide revitalization strategies much more important and effective than the old one-site-at-a-time cleanup approach. Through its BOA program, New York State has pioneered the area-wide community empowerment approach to neighborhood renewal. Since its creation in 2003, more than 100 communities across New York have qualified to be part of the BOA program.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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