STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Staten Islanders could see more park lands and commercial real estate in former industrial areas along the North Shore if a bill to increase funding to clean these sites up becomes law.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) touted her bill’s potential Thursday afternoon at the Northfield Community Local Development Corporation’s Port Richmond office. She said the measure — Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development (BUILD) Act — would would increase funding available to municipalities and non-profits to clean up Brownfield sites — the federal government’s term for land contaminated from past industrial use.
“Typically, Brownfield sites, when they get revitalized, provide jobs to do the revitalization work. Second, it will then provide opportunities for businesses and restaurants and families to locate there,” said Ms. Gillibrand. “And third, you often have the opportunity to create park space.”
As they stand now, some areas in Port Richmond, and especially along the north and west shores, are unusable because of the potential contamination and health risks using those lands would pose.
“Anytime that you have a contaminant or pollutant in your environment, whether we’re talking in the soil or in the air, there’s exposure to harm,” said Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-North Shore). “Really what we’re talking about on Staten Island isn’t alarming or anything to be of great concern, but certainly remediation is necessary and warranted.”
Ms. Gillibrand said the potential for exposure to the contaminants only comes through the use of the land in question — the reason why the legislation calls for additional funding, streamlining the process and adding non-profit organizations to the mix.
Also in attendance were state Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn), Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore), Northfield LDC Executive Director Joan Catalano, Director of Projects for the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation Steven Grillo and Staten Island Chamber of Commerce President Linda Baran.