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For Immediate Release:
August 7, 2012

Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales and City of North Tonawanda Mayor Robert G. Ortt Kickoff the Implementation Strategy of the Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program in City

Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales was joined by Mayor Robert G. Ortt, City of North Tonawanda officials and local residents; to kickoff the Tonawanda Island Brownfield Implementation Strategy for the downtown and waterfront areas in North Tonawanda.

The Department of State awarded the City of North Tonawanda a Brownfield Opportunity Area grant for the implementation of an economic and environmental revitalization plan for 546 acres of land in the areas of downtown, Tonawanda Island, and industrial properties adjacent to the Niagara River.

“ The Department of State has enjoyed a particularly productive partnership with North Tonawanda and your twin City of Tonawanda for over twenty-five years through the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, and more recently the Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program”, Secretary Perales stated. “The North Tonawanda Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) has great redevelopment potential from its availability of land and abundance of waterfront. Through an implementation of a strategic plan for brownfield redevelopment, the City is encouraging redevelopment of downtowns and main streets and developing more sustainable neighborhoods”

“This funding will allow the City to align future land use with the City’s redevelopment goals, while identifying ways to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety, public access, and commercial viability”, stated North Tonawanda Mayor Robert G.Ortt.“This final step will also create a comprehensive document to guide and assist the downtown and waterfront development for the City.  We are extremely grateful and honored by both Governor Cuomo’s and Secretary Perales’ support for this next phase.”

The City of North Tonawanda recently completed the Tonawanda Island Revitalization Plan previously funded through a BOA grant of $175,000. Today’s announcement kickoffs the plan’s implementation made possible with a $423,450 BOA grant.

The BOA implementation strategy focuses on riverfront development that will clean up and return brownfield and vacant sites to productive economic use.  It establishes key actions and strategies to support immediate and long term redevelopment opportunities including: updated zoning and other local laws; architectural design guidelines; archeological investigations, redevelopment feasibility assessments and site plan alternatives for specific strategic sites and site marketing to attract developer interest.

The plan builds on community strengths and assets, such as recent successes at Buffalo Bolt Business Park and recent construction at the city owned marina adjacent to Gratwick Riverside Park on the Niagara River, to help redevelop brownfield property.

Over the last 25 years, the Department of State has enjoyed a particularly productive partnership with City of North Tonawanda and the adjacent City of Tonawanda on the opposite shoreline of the Niagara River and Erie Canal. Five EPF LWRP grants have been awarded to North Tonawanda and have been used to construct a 1,400 trail along the Erie Canal waterfront, together with streetscape improvements along the adjacent Sweeney and Oliver streets; design of a three mile trail along the Niagara River, to link the Erie Canal Gateway, the downtown, and existing parks along the Niagara River; and design of additional public improvements at Gateway Park to further strengthen the ability of the City to take advantage of canal-related tourism opportunities.