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PR- 186-06
June 6, 2006


Grants will Help Revitalize Neighborhoods and Spur Development of Additional Recreation Facilities

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, United States Congressman Vito Fossella, EPA Region II Administrator Alan J. Steinberg and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe today announced that the City has received $600,000 in three U.S. Environmental Protection Agency brownfield grants to conduct environmental assessments at brownfield sites throughout the City and to conduct remediation work at Mariners Marsh Park in Staten Island.  The $200,000 cleanup grant will be used to address contamination in Mariners Marsh Park.  The two $200,000 assessment grants will be used to investigate sites with petroleum contamination and to investigate sites that contain deposits of heavy metals and other hazardous substances.  Brownfield contamination typically results from activities such as former industrial operations and illegal dumping.  Brownfields are properties where the actual or suspected presence of contamination is an impediment to reuse.

"Cleaning up brownfields means creating parks, opening up our waterfront and spurring economic development," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This money will enable the City to accelerate redevelopment at various sites while protecting public health and the environment.  This grant will help transform Mariners Marsh from a post-industrial site into a first-rate park. With community input, we can renovate, rebuild and design a park that Staten Islanders and all New Yorkers can enjoy.  I want to thank Congressman Vito Fossella, Councilmember Michael McMahon, EPA Regional Administrator Alan Steinberg, and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe for their work on getting this project done and creating more green space on Staten Island."

"Brownfields grants help communities turn problem properties into community assets, putting both people and property back to work," said Regional Administrator Steinberg.  "We are proud to continue our partnership with the City of New York to assess and revitalize Mariners Marsh.  This is another example of the administration's commitment to accelerating the pace on environmental protection while maintaining our economic competitiveness."

"This funding will help our community reclaim Mariners Marsh and preserve its 107-acres as open space for future generations of Staten Islanders," said Representative Fossella. "We are taking an important step today in strengthening our environment, preventing development and protecting open space. Mariners Marsh is now firmly on the road to being transformed from a vacant lot into a beautiful park featuring new ball fields and other amenities for children and families on the North Shore. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for his commitment to improving the quality-of-life on Staten Island and the EPA for its help in allowing Staten Island to achieve this long-sought victory."

"This grant is vital to our efforts to revitalize Mariners Marsh for the residents of Staten Island," said Commissioner Benepe. "Biological diversity begins at salt marshes. Staten Island's parks are in better shape than ever, and we look forward to continuing the transformation at Mariners Marsh. The EPA is one of Parks & Recreation's most supportive partners in our efforts to preserve and clean up our City's natural areas."

The $200,000 Mariners Marsh cleanup grant is another key step in transforming the 107-acre brownfield into a revitalized park and protected open space.  The investigation currently underway that was funded by a $270,000 EPA brownfield assessment grant will be finished in early 2007, and the City is now poised to begin the cleanup immediately afterwards.  This work will allow the City to move forward with plans for transforming the 6-acre portion fronting Richmond Terrace into a variety of recreational uses, possibly including ball fields, playgrounds, and soccer fields, and preserving the remaining 101 acres as a natural area. The entire site has evolved into a variety of wetland and upland habitats, including ten ponds.

Investigation work to date has revealed that portions of the Mariners Marsh site contain coal tar residue, volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, and metals.  Early in the 20th Century, the site was occupied by a steel manufacturer, a shipbuilding concern, and a rail line. Later, this site was plagued by neglect and illegal dumping of trash and vehicles.

The two assessment grants are for sites to be determined.  The City will work internally within its agencies and externally with community and economic development groups to identify and prioritize sites.  Sites will be sought that meet EPA eligibility criteria, reflect community need, and have a project schedule that the grant will facilitate.

The New York City award was part of EPA's announcement on May 12th that $69.9 million in Brownfield grants were being awarded nationwide for a variety of projects under the federal Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act.


Stu Loeser/Jordan Barowitz   (212) 788-2958

Warner Johnston   (Parks & Recreation)
(212) 360-1311

Barry Benjamin (EPA)   (212) 637-3651

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