WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. -- Let the cleanup of Wappingers Falls begin.
U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring) announced the Village of Wappingers Falls has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to help revitalize 15 contaminated sites, known as brownfields.
The funds will be used to support community outreach and assist with cleanup planning. Such grants are typically the first award in a series of investments aimed at completely rehabilitating contaminated sites.
“Working together we can make sure all our Hudson Valley communities are free from industrial contamination,” said Maloney. “Strategic federal investments can help clean up our local communities without costing hardworking taxpayers, while protecting Hudson Valley ecosystems and creating jobs.”
Mayor Matt Alexander said the funding will help bring development to Wappingers Falls and begin the revitalization of the village.
“This federal aid from the EPA will enable Wappingers Falls to assess longstanding environmental concerns associated with previous industrial uses,” said Alexander.
Potential sites in Wappingers Falls include former metal plating facilities, dry cleaners, ink and dye manufacturing facilities, industrial storage, gasification facilities, and mechanical manufacturing operations.
"This will help make Wappingers Falls a better place to live, work and raise a family," Maloney said.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said Wappingers Falls has struggled since manufacturing jobs has left town and many of the old industrial zones face problems before they can be turned into developed.
"We've been identifying growth opportunities and we've been engaged in an effort to bring Wappingers Falls back," Molinaro said. "We want to expand the business base."
Alexander said there is already a 24-acre vacant site that he hopes can begin to be developed.
"Property developers have a hard time coming in and picking up a property if they don't know the value of the cleanup," Alexander said. "It can be really hard to sell that piece of property. It ends up on the backs of county taxpayers."
Molinaro said trying to revitalize brownfield sites can be an insurmountable challenge for villages.
"This is a major first step," Molinaro said. "This enables the village and the county to put together a roadmap."