The contaminated Grand Street School in New Cassel had been vacant for years when the town board agreed in October to turn it over to the town's housing authority, which is expected to build an affordable housing complex for seniors on the site.
The Environmental Protection Agency awarded the money through its brownfields program, which helps communities clean and redevelop contaminated properties, said Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
The former school is contaminated with inorganic materials and metals and was abandoned for more than 20 years, she said. Grant funds are also to be used for community outreach, she said.
"This is an important investment for North Hempstead," Gillibrand said in a news release. "Federal funding will help revitalize neighborhoods, attract new businesses, create new jobs and improve the lives of Long Islanders."
Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman, who had been seeking a cleanup grant, said he was grateful. The site has been an eyesore, with windows and doors gone and fences rusting. Kaiman had conceded last year that it was "definitely a hazard."
"This EPA brownfields cleanup grant will provide valuable support to the Town of North Hempstead in our effort to demolish the vacant, blighted Grand Street School building . . . as we prepare to make that site a new center for . . . housing and community park and recreational space," Kaiman said in the news release.
Officials said the project is central to the redevelopment initiative of the 85,000-square-foot site for a $12.75 million housing complex, open recreational space and expanded facilities for the local community center.