CCIDA CEO Mark Geise said the county has a lot of brownfields, which are former industrial sites that have some level of contamination. He said getting those sites back into active use is often hampered by the cost of remediation, “Developers looking at those sites don’t always have the funding or cash available to go and do that, so one of the programs that the Environmental Protection Agency offers every year is a grant cycle to apply for funding to establish a Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund and grant program”
The grant received from the Environmental Protection Agency is $600,000 with a cash match from Chautauqua County and in-kind program administration match from the CCIDA bringing the total program amount to $720,000.
Geise said a benefit to remediating brownfields is that most are located in areas that already have infrastructure, “So it’s not like a grape field where you got to extend water and sewer, which would be very expensive. They’re already zoned correctly. Typically, the neighbors are already used to activity there, or were used to it, so it’s not like a big shock to the neighborhood. So there are a lot of advantages of looking at brownfields. Unfortunately, a lot aren’t that big. You know, we’re looking for big sites, but there are certainly really attractive sites for us to be concentrating on.”
Geise said details about the loan fund are still being finalized, but that they have submitted a work plan to the EPA that’s modeled on Niagara County‘s successful Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund.
According to Geise, the program should be ready to accept applications before the end of the year.