Ogdensburg, home to several brownfield sites, will be getting a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up an area including the former Augsbury Tank Farm Property on Riverside Avenue (what’s a brownfield site? Here’s a more clearly written guide than what you’ll find from the EPA.) That’s according to a press release today from the office of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
For those not familiar, the site is, according to the organization National Brownfields Conference,
Comprised of four (4) separate parcels consisting of 1.2 acres, 5.8 acres, 6.64 acres, and 9.4 acres, respectively. The roughly 23 acre area previously served as a petroleum bulk storage (PBS) facility and terminal that was used for the bulk storage of petroleum products in aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) and coal storage reportedly dating back to the 1930s.
The site, which the EPA says is polluted with petroleum, is right on Ogdensburg’s waterfront, and local leaders see cleaning it up as essential to redevelopment in the city. The city applied for money from the EPA’s revolving loan program to clean up the area (which includes the Tank Farm site but isn’t limited to it) and other polluted areas there back in 2012.
In May of this year, the city held a meeting where Vita Nuova, the company it’s consulting with on its waterfront redevelopment plans, laid out some of those plans. Sen. Gillibrand’s press release says the city’s cleanup will go toward a plan to build a mixed-use development along the St. Lawrence river,
by partnering with Vita Nuova to construct a mixed-use development consisting of 192 residential units, 5,000-8,000 square-feet of commercial space and waterfront park space. The City estimates that this redevelopment could create up to 100 construction jobs and 30 to 50 full-time jobs. The clean-up and redevelopment of the site, which comprises four separate parcels and previously contained a major oil storage facility, is critical to the revitalization of the City’s waterfront area, which is central to the area’s economic development.
(You can find Vita Nuova’s plan for Ogdensburg here.)
In the release, Gillibrand is quoted as saying the EPA funding is “an important investment for the City of Ogdensburg…Federal funding will help revitalize neighborhoods, attract new businesses, create new jobs, and make our waterfront a place for North Country residents to live, work and raise a family.”
After the news last week about Ogdensburg’s St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center and the potential area job losses associated with that, this news must be particularly welcome for the area. The psych center downsizing does make the plan to build 192 residential units (according to the 2010 census, the total number of housing units in the city was 4,070, so 192 is no small number) a little more interesting. But given the waterfront location of the units and the importance of river tourism to the local economy, the connection between the two might be more tangential than it seems.