A brownfield is a property, in which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. More simply, a brownfield is land (previously developed for commercial or industrial purposes) that has possibly been compromised by something harmful. They are “dirty sites.” Brownfields are extremely common and are located throughout the country and the Mohawk Valley.
The good news? Brownfields can be redeveloped and there are several environmental remediation methods available. Potential partners include local Industrial Development Agencies (IDA), local Economic Development Districts, and local, state, and federal government agencies.
Brownfield remediation and redevelopment is work, but it brings with it some serious benefits. It can lead to job creation, revitalizing the economy of local communities, and expanding the tax base. Federal and state programs have emerged to help developers with programs that offer technical assistance, liability protection, funding for Environmental Site Assessments (ESA), regulatory guidance, tax incentives, and cleanup.
Different locations with endless opportunity throughout the Mohawk Valley Region.
The Mohawk Valley is the area surrounding the Mohawk River and is nestled between the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains. It gets its name from Dutch traders who, between 1614 and 1624, established a post within the region of the Mohawk (Kanienʼkehá꞉ka) Tribe. The Mohawk Valley has continually played an important role in New York, mainly due to the Mohawk River and Erie Canal, which connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, as a tributary to the Hudson River.
In order to make travel to the western part of the state safer and easier for products and settlers, New York funded a survey for a canal which would follow the Mohawk River. Construction on The Erie Canal was completed and linked Lake Erie to the Mohawk River. The canal was an engineering marvel and put New York State on the map as the nation’s principal seaport, and opened the interior of the state to settlement. The Erie Canal gave rise to cities, villages, and towns along its shores and helped spur industrialization within the Mohawk Valley.
During the 1800s, the Mohawk Valley was full of manufacturing companies, from carpet companies in Amsterdam, to stove and furnace companies in Utica. The Mohawk Valley was home to glove makers, millers, gun makers, knitting, and even bicycle makers. The boom lasted for over 100 years until these industries started to close. Milling factories started to close down in the 1950s, and glove factories started to move out and close down during the 1980s. By the 1990s, the Northeast Rust Belt was just that – closed down factories left to rust.
The Mohawk Valley has been in steady decline since the factories closed but we are starting to see a resurgence as tech and manufacturing companies have moved to the area. We now boast to being home to a billion dollar silicon wafer fabrication facility, along with other industries that include retail distribution, industrial machinery & services, agriculture, financial services, and information technology.
The area has always been strategically located within the state, and continues through to today. We have direct access to Canada, Pennsylvania, New York City, and Buffalo. The area’s proximity to north-south interstate highways also simplify logistics.