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Rotterdam gets state Brownfield grant

Earlier this month, Rotterdam was awarded $150,000 in state aid to help spur land-use studies that explore development possibilities for 78 acres of town-owned land in Rotterdam Junction.

The land, which runs along Route 5S, is one of 50 areas across the state designated as a Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) to receive the funding.

The funding will allow us to continue studies in the area, said Supervisor Steven Tommasone. "The grant also gives us the opportunity to revitalize a large piece of property."

More than $7.25 million in state aid was doled as part of an agreement to help rebuild blighted areas and spur economic development.

Supervisor Steven Tommasone said he envisions the land in Rotterdam Junction, which was at one time a working gravel mine, as potential park and retail space.

The site, formerly owned by Bonded Concrete, was donated to the town and contains a segment of the historic Erie Canal and the Canalway Trail/Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway.

He said the town hopes this initial grant will be the first of others that will help develop areas in Rotterdam Junction to make the area friendly for families and tourists.

"There is an opportunity to create some passive-use park space and to create some commercial space here," said Tommasone. "But it's also important that the land isn't overdeveloped. People like the small village atmosphere of that area of town."

Town planner Peter Commenzo said the town would look into the possibility of a small grocery store or pharmacy.

"I think this land would be conducive to that," he said. "We're not talking 'big-box' here."

Commenzo also said the land study would address ways to continue protecting the Great Flats Aquifer.

"We've been doing an inventory of the area, and we'll work to clean it up," said Commenzo. "This grant will allow us an actual plan of action that could lead to subsequent funding."

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