New York State Acting Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez today announced the designation of the Erie Boulevard area in Rome as a Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), which includes approximately 575 acres in the center of Rome’s downtown and lands along the Erie Canal. This designation gives the City of Rome the tools to fast-track revitalization efforts and foster redevelopment of key sites transforming them from liabilities to catalysts for economic growth while addressing environmental justice.
Acting Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “The designation of Rome’s Erie Boulevard area as a Brownfield Opportunity Area is the State’s latest investment to help bring Rome closer to its renewal and economic goals. The BOA designation will amplify the work already underway as part of Rome’s $10 million DRI by spurring additional economic development, enhanced recreation, and a mix of residential and commercial land projects to another portion of the City. The Department of State looks forward to continuing our work with Rome to spur redevelopment and enhance environmentally sustainable neighborhoods in the region.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The Department of State’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program is a great complement to DEC’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. Together, these programs are helping advance the restoration of neighborhoods and putting people to work. By returning underutilized properties back to productive use, New York State is energizing Rome’s economy and improving quality of life. DEC looks forward to continuing this transformative process with our state and community partners.”
The City of Rome received a $350,000 grant from the Department of State BOA Program to put forth a comprehensive revitalization strategy to promote effective redevelopment and enhanced environmental quality. The designated area includes a mix of residential, industrial, commercial, and recreational land uses, including the emerging West Dominick Street Arts and Cultural District. This area sits adjacent to the Downtown Rome BOA, which was designated in 2018 and also overlaps with the Rome Downtown Revitalization Initiative area. The key recommendations contained in this BOA nomination focus on projects and other actions that will become channels for redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization within the Brownfield area.
The recommendations of the BOA include:
- Create an expanded open space network and increased recreational opportunities for residents and visitors;
- Enhance the public realm and streetscapes along major thoroughfares and downtown corridors;
- Leverage existing historic and cultural institutions to promote expanded tourism opportunities;
- Enhance housing quality and options within the Erie Boulevard BOA; and
- Promote a diverse mix of businesses and employment opportunities within Rome.
State Senator Joseph A. Griffo said, "I am pleased that the Erie Boulevard area in Rome has been designated a Brownfield Opportunity Area. As a former mayor, I have always believed in, advocated for and understood the importance of the Brownfield Opportunity Program and the significant affect that it can have on communities. This designation will enhance and strengthen revitalization and redevelopment efforts, spur economic growth in the region and address environmental concerns with the site."
Assembly member Marianne Buttenschon said, “I would like to thank New York State Acting Secretary of State Rodriguez for designating Rome’s Erie Boulevard area as a Brownfield Opportunity Area. The City of Rome has created positive impacts in the past with these opportunities and I am confident the end result will be the same. I look forward to working with everyone on this great project.”
Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo said, “The designation of the Erie Boulevard BOA is important to furthering our economic development activity in this 575 acre area. The lands run along the Erie Canal and also incorporate the Downtown Revitalization corridor. Rome has had great success with BOAs in the past and we have already seen results with the demolition and remediation of the former Rome Cable complex 4 site along with returning the former Rome Cable Complex 3 to light industrial use as home to Coldpoint’s new 50,000 square foot manufacturing facility.”
New York State provides a tax credit to encourage private-sector cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites in designated BOAs that conform with the community's vision for the revitalization of their neighborhood. This tax credit bonus is available to projects on properties enrolled in the Brownfield Cleanup Program, administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The Secretary of State determines if projects are in conformance with the goals and priorities of the designated BOA.
The BOA designations help local communities implement strategies to revitalize and rebuild neighborhoods affected by dormant and blighted brownfield properties and environmental injustices. Municipalities and not-for-profits may also apply for BOA pre-development grants to advance projects within the designated BOAs.
Developers, property owners and others with projects and properties located within the designated BOAs will be eligible to access additional Brownfield Cleanup Program tax incentives to develop projects aimed at transforming dormant and blighted areas in their communities and putting them back into productive use. In addition, projects within each designated BOA will be entitled to receive priority and preference for certain State grants.
In her 2022 State of the State Agenda and 2022-2023 Executive Budget, Governor Kathy Hochul proposed to build upon the success of New York State's Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) by extending and expanding the program, which is set to expire in December 2022. The proposal, which includes the 10-year extension, would reauthorize the program and improve it by making property tax credits available in certain disadvantaged, low-income communities, and providing credits for the development of certain renewable energy facility sites to help focus BCP-driven redevelopment and meet the State's ambitious climate goals. Governor Hochul also plans to grow the State's Brownfield Opportunity Area program, which provides communities with guidance, expertise, and financial assistance to help develop revitalization strategies for areas affected by urban blight or economic distress. For more information about the BCP, visit DEC's website.
Further information, including designation details and nomination planning documents associated with the Brownfield Opportunity Area Program, as well as information about the Brownfield Cleanup Program tax credit for projects in designated BOAs, can be found on the Department of State website, Brownfield Redevelopment | Department of State (ny.gov).