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July 16th, 2014

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Funding for Groundwork USA

Kirsten Gillibrand

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will provide $928,592 for Groundwork USA in Yonkers, to provide technical assistance to communities working to clean up their brownfield sites. Federal funding was awarded through EPA’s Brownfields Program, which helps communities assess, clean up, redevelop and reuse contaminated properties.

"This major award from the EPA will tremendously benefit the City of Yonkers by providing the community the tools it needs to turn abandoned and contaminated lands that have the potential to be harmful to surrounding areas, into recreational facilities, housing opportunities and green space," said Senator Schumer. "This funding and resulting training programs for community leaders will invigorate the local economy by allowing Yonkers to make better use of its space and bring in revenue by attracting new residents, tourists and businesses to the area."

"This is an important investment for Yonkers and our whole state," said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. "This federal funding will help provide communities with the training and resources they need to clean up contaminated properties and revitalize their neighborhoods. This will help attract businesses and create new jobs on former industrial sites."

"No matter how tough the local economy, every neighborhood can and should be a decent place to live," said Stephen Burrington, Executive Director, Groundwork USA. "We look forward to applying the experience of the Groundwork USA network and helping more communities reach that goal."

Groundwork USA, based in Yonkers, was established in 2003. Through public and private partnerships, Groundwork USA works with residents to transform eroded properties into community assets that advance equity and environmental justice within those communities. Groundwork USA will use this federal funding to provide technical assistance in the form of training and work-groups, as well as an online resource center for communities with brownfield sites. This technical assistance will help communities learn how to turn abandoned and contaminated areas into recreational facilities, housing, and greenspace. This improves resident’s surroundings and quality of life, while attracting investments that create more jobs and lasting sustainability within the community.

Brownfields can be harmful to surrounding environments and habitats diminishing access for both economic and recreational purposes and opportunities in these communities. There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States. The EPA’s Brownfields Program targets these sites to encourage redevelopment, and help to provide the opportunity for productive community use of contaminated properties.

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