Proposal to clean former industrial shores

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand joins Mayor Ralph Suozzi U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand joins Mayor Ralph Suozzi and local officials to announce new legislation to revitalize inactive industrial sites. Communities across Long Island have plans in development for waterfront brownfield revitalization. (Oct. 8, 2012) Photo Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, against the backdrop of a Glen Cove waterfront already undergoing transformation, announced new proposed legislation Monday to help revitalize other former shoreline industrial sites.

The New York Democrat, who is up for re-election next month, stood on the site of the forthcoming Glen Cove ferry terminal and park on a former industrial property on Glen Cove Creek to discuss her Waterfront Brownfields Revitalization Act.

If approved by Congress and signed by the president, it would designate $220 million of existing federal brownfields funds each fiscal year from 2013 to 2017 to provide grants to local government and nonprofits to redevelop abandoned or underused industrial properties along the shoreline.

Gillibrand said properties in Long Beach, Riverhead, Southampton and around the state could benefit from the grants. "There's an enormous return on your investment when it's on a waterfront because people are drawn to the water," she said. "We can attract new businesses and attract new jobs."

A member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Gillibrand said grants of as much as $500,000 would be made available for environmental assessment and reuse of polluted properties.

Mayor Ralph Suozzi said the program could be a boon for his city. "Glen Cove has received about $100 million worth of federal, state, county and city funds that have been put into this 52 acres of waterfront," he said. But, he added, the city could use additional funds through the bill to do environmental assessments of remaining properties in the 214-acre waterfront former industrial area that have not been redeveloped and then clean up the pollution.

"Without government legislation like this, local communities cannot sustain the financially and time-consumptive burden of reclaiming its lost waterfront brownfields," Suozzi said. The legislation would establish a task force comprising federal and local officials to examine funding and best cleanup methods.

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