Events & Convenings
March 7, 2013: With the impending sunset of the New York State Brownfield Tax Credits (BTCs) and a wide and growing range of constituencies that support robust brownfield financial incentives as the backdrop, NPCR held its March 7th Roundtable on brownfield tax credit reform. Approximately 60 stakeholders attended the event that was artfully facilitated by Allen Zerkin, J.D.
The roundtable began with an overview of the BTC Program and the potential impacts should Albany fail to pass legislation this year. The conversation moved on to discussing the pros and cons of the program, including the possible need for more concrete data to answer the fundamental questions about success to date. After a case study from the City of Newburgh, the group focused on finding areas of agreement and on identifying next steps.
NPCR is organizing a second roundtable, and attendees will receive a copy of a draft Straw Proposal. Register for the April 17 event.
Green Shovel presenters and awardees, top row from left to right: Ken Daly, Kevin McCarty, Jody Kass, Jim Tripp, Eric Bluestone, bottom row from left to right: Lawrence Feldman, John E. Osborn, Sarah Berman, Dan Walsh, Howard Tollin.
January 31, 2013:Nearly 200 stakeholders active in the redevelopment of brownfields attended NPCR's 5th Annual Brownfields Forum. Organized around the theme, "New Connections," the January 31st event took place at National Grid headquarters in Brooklyn. The Forum was kicked off by National Grid President Ken Daly and NY Secretary of State Cesar Perales and included panels on the BOA program as well as NPCR's 2013 Green Shovel Awards for Partnership in Community Revitalization.
The Forum panels focused on Superstorm Sandy Recovery and the opportunities presented to build on the work already underway in impacted communities through the BOA program, as well as green energy, brownfield tax credits and new federal initiatives. A BOA Expo was also organized for networking and the opportunity to exchange ideas and information. The chairs of the Senate and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, Mark Grisanti and Robert Sweeney sent greetings to Forum organizers and attendees.
top row, from left to right: Peter Walsh, Jim Tripp, Cesar Perales, Jody Kass, Curtis Cravens, bottom row: Eddie Bautista, John Gearrity, Claire Weisz, Kevin Healy, Elizabeth Yeampierre
This year's honorees for NPCR's 2013 Green Shovel Awards for Partnership in Community Revitalization included Sarah Berman, President of The Berman Group and John E. Osborn, Managing Partner at John E. Osborn, P.C., from the private sector and Daniel C. Walsh, Ph. D., Director of New York City Office of Environmental Remediation at the Mayor's Office of Operations from the public sector. A copy of NPCR's press release is available here.
December 11, 2012: NPCR's most recent Breakfast Roundtable showcased the work of The Jonathan Rose Companies. Company president Jonathan Rose highlighted their work on the Dr. Muriel Petioni Plaza in Harlem and on the Via Verde Project in the Bronx as well as the company’s pioneering efforts to make buildings more sustainable and resilient. He also shared his perspectives on the need for a range of solutions to address sea level rise, including natural systems, hard solutions such as sea gates and sea walls, and behavioral solutions such as sandbagging when a storm is forecast.
In addition, BOA grantees discussed their revitalization strategies and emerging redevelopment sites. Erin Reilley, Grants Administrator at the Glen Cove CDA, presented information on five strategic sites in the Orchard and Sea Cliff Avenue Industrial area and their interest in transit oriented development. Jelain Henderickson, Associate Director for Real Estate Development at Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement discussed four strategic sites in the Bradhurst BOA and ideas for future use including an educational institution, an intermodal transit hub, community facilities and retail.
October 9, 2012: NPCR hosted the first in a series of Developer-Community Networking Roundtables at the NYS Bar Association. Attended by some 50 brownfield practitioners – developers, environmental consultants, lawyers, agency representatives and community organizations – participants heard from George Aridas, executive vice president of the Albanese Organization. Aridas discussed his company’s work in Wyandanch, on Long Island, and the importance of public-private partnerships. Mr. Aridas was joined by Vanessa Pugh, the Suffolk County Deputy Commissioner for Economic Development and Planning, who shared her observations about the power of the BOA Program to advance community-based planning. Representatives of the Cypress Hills Development Corporation and the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) also presented information about strategic sites emerging in their BOA study areas.
June 4-5, 2012: NPCR held its sixth annual Albany Brownfields Summit on June 4th and 5th. The event was attended by 120 people from across NYS including representatives of community-based organizations, municipalities, environmental consultants and planners, law firms and State agencies. Secretary of State Cesar Perales opened the Summit and expressed his strong support for the BOA Program.
The Summit topics were wide ranging and included panels and interactive discussions on land banking and TIF; implementation resources for BOA grantees such as Main Street grants, Environmental Facilities Corporation resources for infrastructure and DOT funds; a report from David Lloyd of USEPA on the status of brownfields and area-wide planning initiatives at EPA; a session with BOA planning consultants on Lessons from the Field; and a continuation of conversations about the working waterfront and the sunset of the BTCs that built on earlier NPCR Roundtables. Sophie Lambert of the US Green Building Conference provided material on LEED Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) and Summit participants discussed ways in which LEED ND could be used more widely in conjunction with the BOA program. The day and half summit provided plenty of opportunity for networking and exchanging new and innovative ideas related to redevelopment and revitalization of NYS communities through the BOA program.
May 9, 2012 BOA and the Working Waterfront: Many of the communities that are participating in New York's BOA program have identified a strengthened, greener and more resilient working waterfront as central to the vision for their neighborhoods. NPCR's May 9th Roundtable brought together more than 60 community leaders, regulatory agency representatives, elected officials, lawyers, developers, planners and consultants in an interactive program to identify key challenges, and opportunities in revitalizing the waterfront.
It was no surprise that issues involving bulkheads and soft edges - and the natural and regulatory interface between them - emerged as a core issue on the working waterfront. The dilemma is that once a bulkhead or other hard edge is abandoned, the area begins returning to its natural state, and the rules regarding future use become more complicated and time consuming. Restoring existing bulkheads is frequently a necessary part of re-establishing commercial, industrial, and business uses at a site as well as for creating opportunities for open space and public waterfront access. A problem, identified by many of the roundtable participants, is the extensive time and effort it takes to reconcile development and wetlands mitigation requirements. Noting that communities want working waterfronts, Venetia Lennon, head of the state DEC's Region 2, suggested that BOA "may be the place" where the conversation about reconciling these conflicting needs can take place.
Other topics covered, included dredging, maritime support services, climate resiliency (impacts of sea level rise), and resources to advance common revitalization goals. All agreed that it was an extraordinary discussion, and one that needs to continue.
February 16, 2012: NPCR's Brownfield Financial Incentives Roundtable was on Feb.16, 2012, in NYC. NPCR assembled an expert panel of environmental and tax attorneys, environmental justice and community development organizations, developers, practitioners and state and federal regulatory personnel to discuss the current status of the state's Brownfield Tax Credits, the impact of the 2015 sunset provision and what it all means. The Roundtable included a discussion about the purpose of financial incentives and a report on other financial incentives used by states in other parts of the country. The conversation among the 60 attendees was provocative and thoughtful and Allen Zerkin, J.D., an Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Pubic Service, expertly kept the group and the discussion constructive. NPCR is developing a report based on the Roundtable and anticipates its release in June 2012.
January 17, 2012: More than 200 people gathered for NPCR's 4th Annual Brownfields Forum, held on January 17th in New York City, coincident with NPCR's Ten Year Anniversary (see press release). Kicking off the Forum were written remarks from Secretary of State Cesar Perales (read remarks). The BOA EXPO, a centerpiece of the Forum this year, was designed to strengthen alignment between the redevelopment projects emerging from communities in the Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) program and the public and private sector resources connected with Governor Cuomo's ten Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs). Representatives from the NYSDEC, NYS HCR, NYSDOS, conventional and community lenders, and environmental risk experts, designated as "Resource People," responded to the presentations with suggestions for advancing priority projects.
Following the EXPO Dialogue was an EXPO Open Session that gave community development leaders the opportunity to build connections with public and private experts and practitioners and identify potential projects and deals. NPCR also distributed its first Resource Directory to foster connections between BOA communities in need of planners, lawyers, engineers and other consultants.
The Keynote speech was delivered by USEPA Assistant Administrator of the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Mathy Stanislaus, who travelled from Washington, D.C. to participate in the Forum. The Assistant Administrator provided an update on the USEPA's brownfield programs and said, "We at the EPA congratulate you on your success in leading the use of the community-led area-wide planning approach to spark brownfields cleanups and neighborhood renewal. I strongly believe that area-wide planning is a key tool to revitalize economically distressed communities and America's downtowns. We see New York's Brownfield Opportunity Areas program as a national model for the type of area-wide strategies that other cities, states, and community-based organizations should consider as they seek to promote public health and economic revitalization in their own cities and towns." In addition, he confirmed that the EPA would soon entertain a second round of its own area-wide planning grants.
The BOA EXPO was followed by a discussion of emerging federal, state and local initiatives, which included the debut of a film commissioned by NYC OER about brownfields and environmental justice, a presentation by NYSERDA on new Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) resources for regional sustainability plans and an energetic discussion by former regulators and lawyers about needed and pending legislation on brownfield tax credits, the brownfield cleanup program and the Navigation law. State Senator Mark Grisanti, who has just introduced legislation to strengthen the BOA program, also provided written remarks (see remarks).
At the reception following the forum, NPCR recognized Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's leadership in the Wyandanch BOA and more widely in the NYS BOA program with NPCR's first "Excellence in Public Service" award. NYS Assemblyman Robert Sweeney sent congratulations to Steve Bellone on receiving the award (see written remarks).
October 12, 2011: New Partners New Connections was the theme of a landmark event that took place in midtown Manhattan at the first NPCR Pipeline & Networking breakfast roundtable (see NPCR press release). Sixty participants, including developers, community organizations, as well as lawyers, planners, consultants, insurers and government officials, all interested in advancing redevelopment projects, gathered to learn about opportunities emerging in communities across the five boroughs. Community leaders from Harlem, Greenpoint, Sunset Park, Jamaica, Staten Island and the South Bronx made presentations, which included specific information about sites – acreage, ownership, site assemblage, market and feasibility analysis, and end uses. The sites have emerged from work being conducted by 17 New York City community groups that over the last several years have been awarded $9.4 million from the NYS Brownfield Opportunity Areas program to conduct pre-development, planning and feasibility studies. A networking session that fostered one–on- one exchanges followed the presentations. This extraordinary event helped build trust between community leaders and developers and began to lay the groundwork for new cooperative development projects in NYC neighborhoods.
June 6 - 7, 2011: Over 120 participants and representatives of 50 BOA communities from around the state participated in the 5th Annual Albany Summit, a two-day event which included a series of roundtable discussions and a networking dinner. The focus of this year's Summit was tools and resources for BOA implementation of the area–wide revitalization strategies that are emerging from the 110 NY communities participating in the BOA program.Roundtable discussions were held about Land Banking and Tax Increment Financing as new revenueneutral tools, USDA resources, transportation planning and resources, economic development and climate adaption. The Summit also included a discussion with Senator Mark Grisanti, the newly elected Chair of the Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation, where he heard directly from BOA representatives across the state about the importance of BOA in achieving neighborhood revitalization goals.
NPCR held an Albany press conference calling on the Governor, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Assembly Speaker to begin taking the steps necessary to complete a Memorandum of Understanding to access additional funding, or find new sources of revenue to keep the redevelopment and jobs creation momentum moving forward in many New York neighborhoods. More than three dozen additional BOA projects have completed their applications and are ready to be admitted to the program. NPCR issued a press release voicing non-profits' urge to Albany leaders to keep up the momentum with the BOA program. The Legislative Gazette wrote an article about the press conference.
As part of the event, NPCR also released the report, "The Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program: Smart Investment Laying the Groundwork for Economic Development." It revealed that BOA is already making a significant contribution to job creation and economic development across the state, with the potential to provide an even greater boost. The report found that New York's $34 million investment in 110 BOA projects will create from 30,000 to 50,000 jobs across urban, suburban, and rural areas of the state.
December 1, 2010: NPCR held its 3rd Annual Brownfields Forum entitled: “Evolution of Brownfields: From Policies to Partnerships.” The full day event was hosted by National Grid and attended by nearly 200 community development leaders representing 50 communities, including BOA grantees, developers, lenders, consultants and local, city, state and federal agency representatives. The day started with discussions about NYC brownfield initiatives and what is on the horizon for Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2.0. It also included an animated discussion about the future of the NYS Brownfield Tax Credits, and one about how the BOA program is being used by upstate and downstate communities in urban, suburban and rural areas. The day concluded with presentations about national tools that could be used to implement NY's area-wide approach to community revitalization. The Forum was also the official kick-off of the NYC BOA Community Resilience Initiative East River Industrial Corridor Pilot. The launch of the Pilot included a video that provided background and a green ribbon-tying ceremony symbolizing the extraordinary community-city-state-federal partnership upon which the Pilot is based. National Grid hosted a buffet lunch, which provided a lively networking opportunity for the participants. Click here to see NPCR's press release about the launch of the Pilot.
May 10 & 11, 2010: NPCR's annual Albany summits have been highly successful in providing opportunities for BOA grantees to share lessons learned and advance ideas for tweaking the BOA program. NPCR continued the tradition with Albany Summit IV on Brownfields. On May 10-11, 2010 over 100 community leaders, local officials and other stakeholders from across New York State attended NPCR's two-day Brownfields Summit IV entitled New Opportunities for New York: BOA Spotlight Communities, and Place-Based Regional Collaboration. This was NPCR's fourth convening of stakeholders involved in the BOA program in Albany. Speakers included local, city, state and federal agency officials, as well as community and municipal leaders participating in the Brownfield Opportunity Area program. Participants engaged in an energetic and informative dialogue on many of the issues and challenges facing community revitalization in communities most impacted by brownfield sites. Secretary of State Lorraine Cortez-Vasquez also announced the selection of the East River Industrial Corridor in Brooklyn as the location of one of DOS's Place-Based Regional Collaboration Pilots. The Project Team for the pilot includes UPROSE from Sunset Park, GMDC from Newtown Creek and NPCR.
December 2, 2009: NPCR hosted its Second Annual Brownfields Forum entitled “New Directions in Brownfields: Building Sustainable Communities through Stronger City, State and Federal Partnerships.” The Forum was hosted by National Grid and attended by over 250 brownfield stakeholders who heard from community development, environmental justice and government leaders involved in sustainability and neighborhood renewal. The event achieved national recognition when Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes Vazquez announced the Place-Based Regional Collaboration Pilot, a new NYS partnership with federal agencies to advance community revitalization. Forum Panel #1 focused on ways in which the EPA-HUD-DOT Partnership for Sustainable Communities could be connected to the NYS DOS Brownfield Opportunity Area Program. Panel #2 discussed the NYS Brownfield Cleanup Program and shortcomings in the NYS law that affects eligibility and limits the ability to use brownfield tax credits to advance the construction of affordable housing projects on brownfields.The last panel focused on the NYC Brownfields and Community Revitalization Act signed by Mayor Bloomberg on May 11, 2009 with a particular focus on the significant support it offers to NYC BOA grantees. Statements on the importance of brownfields revitalization, efforts to revitalize brownfields in low- and moderate-income communities and legislative proposals, were received from several invited speakers including State Senator Antoine M. Thompson, Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney and US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
APRIL 27 & 28, 2009: NPCR held its Brownfield Summit III in Albany on April 27 – 28, 2009. Over 100 brownfields stakeholders participated in the two-day event which included a Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Roundtable discussion and reception on the afternoon of the 27th, presentations by two Spotlight BOA Communities on the morning of the 28th, an intensive workshop on resources for site assessment and remediation, and a panel presentation by state agency officials on significant brownfield projects they have undertaken. The Summit also included presentations from several keynote speakers, including senior elected and government officials.
There is new momentum for the BOA program - There was a lot of energy at the Summitinpart because of a shared sense that the BOA program is beginning to mature. DOS is thought to be an increasingly effective partner and stakeholders are finding that the delays that plagued the program during its first years are being resolved programmatically. Communities are moving through Step 2 and gearing up for Step 3 and are beginning to see the enormous potential of the BOA program to accomplish community revitalization objectives. Nevertheless, there was interest in ensuring that contract reviews and reimbursements are expedited, and that additional awards are provided in a timely manner.
More flexible and increased resources are needed for Site Assessment – There was universalagreement that communities need multiple options and resources for site assessment. Recognizing this need, NPCR issued a White Paper on Site Assessment Resources, which covers both NYS and federal resources as well as the obstacles to utilizing those resources. The need for site assessments is also inspiring communities and their government partners to find new and innovative ways to use NYS and federal site assessment funds. Although BOA resources have yet to be used, a number of strategies were discussed with DEC and DOS for effectively using BOA funds and for developing more expedited programmatic procedures.
The State's Other Brownfield Programs need improvement –The Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP)/Brownfield Tax Credits must be fixed to relieve the state of an enormous financial liability and to open up the program to the sites that need regulatory oversight, liability relief and financial incentives. There were several communities, including Long Island and Kingston who felt it was important that Class 2 superfund sites be allowed into the BCP. There was also strong support for re-financing the Environmental Restoration Program. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) was also suggested as an important potential resource for brownfield re-development.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM BOA PRACTITIONERS IN THE FIELD
NPCR and representatives from across the State called on the Governor and legislature to sign a legislative Memorandum of Understanding that would authorize the award of 14 new BOA grants totaling $6.7 million. The group also called on Albany leaders to open up the eligibility for the Brownfield Cleanup Program and to target the brownfield tax credits to projects that are in need of subsidies. (Learn more: WAMC coverage of April 30, 2009 Brownfields Advocates Summit in Albany and April 29, 2009 press coverage, Group wants $7 million released for brownfields.)
DOS FEEDBACK SESSION ON ITS BOA TRAINING
DOS suggested more advanced training courses, such as marketing, financial strategies and smart growth and sustainable development and participants expressed interest in training on negotiating access agreements and strategies for the implementation phase. An important theme that emerged was the need for training tailored to CBO grantees and break-out sessions during trainings were suggested. DOS also asked for feedback on the different media/approaches: including online, indexed sessions, web casting, and more traditional in-person sessions.
November 17, 2008: Over 180 people attended NPCR's BrownfieldsForum entitled: “Urban Revitalization 2009: Building the Smart Growth Link Between Redevelopment and Sustainable Communities.” Participants included nonprofit and for-profit lenders and developers, community based organizations, environmental justice representatives, environmental groups, environmental insurance industry representatives, State and municipal officials, lawyers, and consultants.
The Forum included presentations by high level City and Stateagency representatives and practitioners about brownfield resources and the programs impacted by the July 2008 amendments to the NYS Brownfields Law, with a particular focus on the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) program. At the Forum, NY Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez launched the Brownfields Smart Growth Spotlight Communities Initiative. Governor David Paterson was quoted in the State's press release issued that day, “Even in these economically trying times, we must remain aware of the need for us to invest in New York's future. The Brownfields Smart Growth Spotlight Communities Initiative helps us to achieve that goal by building on our commitment to the smart growth principles of sensible, balanced development in town and city centers in need of revitalization. The partnership between BOA community participants and my Smart Growth Cabinet will ensure that the improvements we make create jobs and generate growth as we protect our environment.” (Read the entire press release.) Over the last few years, BOA program funds have been fueling the planning, market studies, environmental analysis, infrastructure design and other activities needed to attract private investment, get projects built and for neighborhoods to grow smart. Linking the innovative BOA program with the Governor's Smart Growth strategy will build momentum in neighborhood value-creation efforts and ensure that investments already made, are not jeopardized. This announcement marks a turning point for the 100+ communities participating in the BOA program and firmly positions New York State as a national leader in urban smart growth.
In addition, NPCR used the Forum to unveil three brownfield initiatives:
May 20, 2008: The success of the March 3 and 4, 2008 summit and the need to continue to press for reforms to the BOA Program prompted NPCR to organize the Second Brownfields Summit on May 20, 2008 in Albany. BOA grantees gathered for a brownfields breakfast at which the Secretary of State spoke and Assemblyman Sweeney and Senator Marcellino discussed their respective Brownfields bills and reform approaches. In addition, NPCR organized a press conference, a meeting with Senator Antoine Thompson (ranking minority member of the Environmental Conservation Comm.) and a roundtable hosted by the Department of State to discuss implementation of the BOA program and in particular expanding the eligible activities in the program. The Second Brownfields Summit was well attended and the afternoon roundtable with DOS generated many interesting ideas for the BOA program. NPCR subsequently prepared a report for DOS with a summary of the recommendations that came out of the roundtable discussion. NPCR will continue to press for changes to the Brownfields Legislation and to garner support for both consolidating the BOA Program under one agency and providing a 20% tax credit to developers who build projects consistent with BOA plans.
March 3 & 4, 2008: NPCR held a Brownfields Summit in Albany and invited all current and pending BOA grantees. Municipal and community development leaders from all over NYS attended the roundtable (hosted by NYSDEC), press conference, and evening reception and held meetings with key legislators. The agenda included a request for commitments to release BOA funding, elimination of the requirement for MOUs, consolidation of the BOA program under one State Agency and creation of a link between tax credits and projects built consistent with a BOA plan. The summit was an overwhelming success and helped break the 3-year logjam that resulted in the award of $7 million in BOA funds that had been held up by bureaucratic procedures. The event received excellent press coverage both upstate and downstate. Mayor Bloomberg issued a press release in which NPCR was acknowledged for their continued advocacy and the release of $2.7 million in BOA Funds for NYC alone. Read press release.
July 2007: NPCR hosted a roundtable with BOA grantees and pending grantees in NYC entitled: “Roundtable Dialogue about the Brownfield Opportunity Area Program, NYC”. The focus of the morning session was what the City can do to advance the BOA program; and the focus of the afternoon session was what the State can do. Representatives from New York City and New York State government participated; as did representatives of BOA communities in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens and Nassau County. City of New York attendees included representatives from Deputy Mayor Doctoroff's Office, NYC Economic Development Corporation, NYC Department of City Planning and NYC Office of Environmental Coordination. New York State attendees included representatives from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and NYS Department of State.
June 2006: This BOA Roundtable, held on June 12, 2006, focused on the opportunities associated with the BOA program with an eye towards identifying strategies to help ensure the program reaches its full potential. Participants in this meeting included: Assemblyman Vito Lopez, Senator Carl Marcellino, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS Department of State, NYC Office of Environmental Coordination, UPROSE, YMPJ, Sustainable Long Island, City of Syracuse Economic Development Corporation, and True Bethel Baptist Church/True Community Development Corp., Buffalo. Information obtained during the roundtable was subsequently incorporated into NPCR's report- Brownfields Breakthrough A Report on the State of New York's Community Revitalization Tool for the Future.
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