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Governor’s office announces $360,000 grant for Massena brownfields

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MASSENA — A $360,000 grant for brownfields remediation will head to Massena, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday.

And much of that money will be used for the redevelopment of the General Motors Powertrain site.

The funding is part of $3.45 million in Brownfield Opportunity Areas grant money earmarked for 15 communities across the state.

The Massena grant will be used for a 485-acre area, including a 200-acre brownfield site, according to the governor’s office. The 220-acre GM site is one of the grant’s target areas, according to Chris Valens, Department of State spokesman.

“Grant funds will assess existing economic and environmental conditions and identify how best to revitalize the area by attracting the most appropriate businesses to provide jobs and revenue,” Mr. Valens said in an email message. “As part of the strategy, a focused market and infrastructure analysis will be completed to identify and evaluate the most appropriate business sectors for the area.”

Local officials applied for a BOA grant for the GM site last year and were awaiting news from the state. At the time, members of the North Country Redevelopment Task Force said the BOA money would be used to complete market studies and a plan to redevelop the site.

County Legislator Anthony J. Arquiett, task force chairman, praised the state’s decision.

“I’m very pleased the governor has chosen to invest in the north country by way of the Brownfield Opportunity grant,” he said.

Local officials still need to determine how the money will be used, Mr. Arquiett said. Improving infrastructure at the GM site is one possibility.

“There’s been some different ideas,” Mr. Arquiett said. “Now that we know we’ve been approved for this money, we can get down to what is the best application of this money.”

The grant award is proof the Cuomo administration is paying attention to the north country, Mr. Arquiett said.

“Sometimes we feel a little forgotten in the north country,” he said. “This is an indication the governor does want to invest in a poor economic region that needs every bit of help he can give us.”

The grants will help former industrial sites in struggling areas across the state, Mr. Cuomo said in a statement.

“Turning brownfields into vibrant sites that attract investment and create jobs is another step in our mission to rebuild the economy of New York state,” Mr. Cuomo said. “These grants will revitalize communities throughout the state, provide opportunities for crucial economic development and allow businesses and neighborhoods to thrive once more. As these individual communities are restored, New York state as a whole will prosper.”

Jason A. Clark, executive director of the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena, also praised the decision. The BDC board recently decided to continue its involvement in the Mayor’s Automotive Coalition. The board allowed the BDC to continue after Mr. Clark told them he was applying for $6,500 from the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency to help cover the costs.

“When combined with that action, the Governor’s announcement enables us to advance our progress in redeveloping Massena,” Mr. Clark said in an email.

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