Mayors Bollwage and Kalisz Address State Officials on Coastal Brownfields Redevelopment
By Derrick L. Coley
September 29, 2003
New Bedford (MA) Mayor Frederick Kalisz, Jr. and Elizabeth (NJ) Mayor J. Christian Bollwage spoke about their efforts to rebuild and restore their coasts through brownfields redevelopment at a National Governor's Association regional conference entitled "Coastal Brownfields: At the Water's Edge." The event was held in Cambridge (MA) September 11-12. The conference attracted state representatives from the Northeast and Great Lakes regions to discuss best practices in coastal management as it relates to brownfields redevelopment. Conference participants heard presentations on coastal management pertaining to habitat restoration for wildlife. Other topics covered were ecological services such as water quality improvement from wetlands and recreation for the public, creating boardwalks and other amenities for tourism attractions, redevelopment of abandoned ports and harbors to serve the needs of expanding global commerce in the future for economic development.
s of expanding global commerce in the future for economic development.
At the opening plenary luncheon, Kalisz highlighted New Bedford's efforts to facilitate the assessment, remediation and redevelopment of coastal brownfields in order to improve the economic vitality and quality of life. One innovative approach was the creation of Positive Collateral Environment Development (PCED), which seeks to address all of the environmental issues surrounding a brownfields site. The city of New Bedford couples corrective measures in addressing Combined Sewer Overflow Separation with redeveloping brownfields in coastal areas. Kalisz stated, "The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has provided New Bedford with over $1.5 million in assistance to redevelop brownfield sites. This assistance has come in the form of brownfields pilot assessments, targeted site assessments, job training, clean up revolving loan fund and Superfund redevelopment grants."
Kalisz discussed other Federal partnerships that are assisting New Bedford in implementing its brownfields redevelopment strategy. New Bedford's partners include the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, which has provided a staffer; Army Corp of Engineers, who have been instrumental in contracting the work in the New Bedford Harbor Superfund Project; Department of Transportation with funding to redesign Route 18 to better connect the city to the waterfront and interstate highway system; Maritime Administration in determining a plan of action to address needed port facility upgrades. New Bedford has worked closely with state officials in Massachusetts to obtain technical advice and funding, for projects such as the Fairhaven Harbor Master project, which will create a twenty-five acre industrial area on the city's waterfront. This area had been vacant for 35 years and will now house a new expansion for a seafood processing facility. Kalisz stated, "New Bedford has the highest per dollar catch of fish in the country." This project after built will add 150 new jobs and nearly $100 million to the fish processing industry
e a new expansion for a seafood processing facility. Kalisz stated, "New Bedford has the highest per dollar catch of fish in the country." This project after built will add 150 new jobs and nearly $100 million to the fish processing industry
Bollwage, Chair of the Conference of Mayors Brownfields Task Force, said that the redevelopment of coastal brownfields was important not only from an economic perspective, but also because of the biological richness of the estuaries and wetlands found in these areas. Bollwage continued, "Harbor estuary goals relate directly to community building and quality of life, which includes water quality restoration, returning our estuaries to swimable and fishable status." Bollwage also discussed the Army Corp of Engineers plan entitled, "Estuary Restoration Act", which strives to restore 1,000,000 acres of wildlife habitat by 2010. Bollwage stated, "Today we must focus not only on the short term benefits to our residents, but also on the long term benefits to the environment."
Bollwage emphasized the economic impact that ports have in American commerce and in particular the New York and New Jersey region. He stated, "According to the American association of Port Authorities, nearly 16 million Americans work in port related jobs." He continued, "The Port of New York and New Jersey is ranked third in the Nation, and the largest on the Atlantic coast, with the leading terminals in Elizabeth." Bollwage highlighted that the redevelopment of coastal brownfields was important in order to continue supporting and creating new jobs to meet America's growing trade needs. He said, "These ports support nearly a quarter of a million jobs, generating $10 billion in annual wages. Our trade volumes will more than double in the next 15 to 20 years." Bollwage closed by discussing the American Chrome Company, which was assessed by the city, but remediation costs were substantial. Therefore, the city worked in collaboration with the owner and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to remediate the property, which will be redeveloped into waterfront housing.
Therefore, the city worked in collaboration with the owner and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to remediate the property, which will be redeveloped into waterfront housing.