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The Town of North Hempstead was recently selected to receive a $200,000 Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Town is one of only two municipalities on Long Island to receive the award.

Various community and government entities are represented at a press conference to discuss the $200,000 Brownfields Redevelopment award from the EPA. (L.-r., standing): Kenneth Little, New Cassel Environmental Justice Project, Inc. Board of Directors; John Brown, Prospect Ave. Business Association; Mark H. Kaufman, president, New Cassel Business Association, Inc.; and Mildred Little, president, New Cassel Environmental Justice Project, Inc. (Seated): Robert A. Benrubi, Esq., Crowe, Deegan and Dickson; May Newburger, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor; and Rich Cahill, press officer, Environmental Protection Agency Region 2.

The initiative is part of the EPA's national effort to renew industrial and commercial properties where expansion or redevelopment is hampered by real or perceived environmental contamination. North Hempstead plans to prioritize and conduct environmental assessments at up to eight brownfields sites in the hamlet of New Cassel. The awards were made possible by the Clinton-Gore Administrations' Brownfields Assessment Pilot Grants.

"We are absolutely thrilled about the Brownfields award because this addresses an area that has been neglected for close to 30 years," said Supervisor May Newburger. "It ties in with all of the efforts we have been making there, not only for economic development, but for revitalizing the entire community."

Through this grant, New Cassel will establish its own Brownfields program with the objective of turning designated areas into "greenfields" by assessing, safely cleaning up and fostering their sustainable reuse. The community will establish working groups to guide pilot activities. The town will also hold community meetings to keep local residents and businesses informed.

According to Newburger, the town will also be considered for phase two of the initiative, which includes job training pilot programs, each funded by the EPA up to $200,000 over two years. These programs would provide training for residents to facilitate cleanup of Brownfields sites and to prepare trainees for future employment in the environmental field.

"The EPA is continuing to focus on Brownfields redevelopment because these efforts provide a variety of benefits that improve the environment and local economies," said EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox. "For previous Brownfields grant recipients, the common denominator for success has been strong partnerships with all levels of government, the community and the private sector."

Since 1995, the EPA has funded more than 360 Brownfields pilots nationwide, including 16 municipalities and an Indian Nation in New York State already participating in the Brownfields initiative.

"This is something that has been long-needed to help in the revitalization, and most important, the education, of the community of New Cassel," said Mildred Little, president of the New Cassel Environmental Justice Project, Inc.

"We are very pleased that funds have been made available to help the industrial park. We are looking forward to witnessing the cleanup of the park, the creation of more investors in the park, and, later on, the reconstruction of the park by major developers," said Mark H. Kaufman, president of the New Cassel Business Association, Inc.


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