"Brownfields redevelopment is a critical component of Governor McGreevey's initiative to promote smart growth in New Jersey," stated New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "These projects clean the environment, grow the economy and preserve open space."
The forum's participants consists were: Pascrell, Campbell, Larry D'Andrea of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Fran Hoffman of the New Jersey Office of Smart Growth, Larry Jacobs of Farer Law Associates--a leading environmental law firm, Jerry Eben of the American Institute of Architects and Bill Muzychko, Vice President of PNC Financial Services Group.
Federal Brownfield Initiative
In January 2002, the first federal Brownfields legislation, the "Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act" was signed into law. It provides authority for Brownfields programs including grants for assessment and cleanup. It expands current Brownfields program by increasing funding authority up to $200 million per year, streamlines current requirements for cleanup revolving loan fund, makes funding available to nonprofits, clarifies certain key liability issues, clearing the way for increased private investment in Brownfields properties.
New Jersey Ballot Initiative
On November 4, 2003, New Jersey residents voted overwhelmingly to support funding to investigate and clean up contaminated sites and promote Brownfields development. Without increasing taxes, the ballot proposal expands the use of an existing underground storage tank funding program to create a reliable, long-term funding source for Brownfields redevelopment. Municipalities and businesses would directly benefit from grants and loans for hazardous discharge cleanups. These funds would be provided through an expanded use of Corporate Business Tax (CBT) revenues already dedicated to the state's underground storage tank funding program. Brownfield projects could be eligible for up to $50 million in CBT funding the first year alone, and about $10-15 million each year thereafter.
A Local Brownfield Success Story
The formerly abandoned Boris Kroll Mill in Paterson has been transformed into market-rate rental housing that is hoped to spark urban revitalization. The first phase of redevelopment has created 39 new apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail and office space. The city block at 20th Avenue and State Street in the "People's Park" area of Paterson once housed a looming plant, which employed many residents. When the plant ceased operation, the site lay vacant for over a decade, becoming an eyesore for the community.
With financial support from the city and private developers, along with state assistance, the area has been given new life. The buildings have retained their beautiful 19th Century architecture with brick fronts, high ceilings, and grid windows. The redevelopment represents the largest upsurge of new, market-rate housing in Paterson in over twenty years.