Rotterdam Junction Brownfield proposal complete

Planners say flooding means better chances for funding

— Redevelopment efforts in Rotterdam Junction highlighted in the Brownfield Opportunity Area study might be achieved more swiftly since floodwaters ripped through the community.

The final Brownfield study was discussed during a presentation at the Rotterdam Town Board meeting on Wednesday, May 9, a landmark achieved after a six-year process. The town applied for funding in 2006 and was awarded a $150,000 grant from the state in March 2008. Town Planner Peter Comenzo said the town has worked to finalize the study during the last two-and-a-half years.

“Really, the reason why we were looking at the study is we were trying to come up with ways to revitalize Rotterdam Junction, come up with an identity for Rotterdam Junction and to try to look at ways we could come up with a future plan for the town,” Comenzo said.

The town had completed the study months ago, he said, but a wrench was thrown into those plans when Tropical Storms Irene and Lee caused significant damage to the community.

“We got to the very final product … and then we had the floods,” he said.

He said the town and Laberge Group reevaluated the study to see how things have changed within Rotterdam Junction after flooding. The town had done a “windshield survey” of houses and graded them, but after the flooding there were “major changes,” he said.

Comenzo said presenting the study without consideration of what happened during the floods and setting the study aside would have been “a slap in the face” for Rotterdam Junction residents.

Though the flooding brought destruction, it could also be a catalyst to spur funding for the project.

“By having such a tragic event here, we are going to try to keep the momentum going,” Comenzo said. “It is easy to just put your hands up and walk away because it can be very frustrating to deal with some of those larger state and federal agencies.”

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