Wednesday, September 11, 2013

PLEX brownfield project still moving ahead

Posted By on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 at 11:48 AM

In 2011 and 2012, the City of Rochester and the Plymouth-Exchange neighborhood spent a lot of time developing plans to address a blighted area at the end of Flint Street, near the Genesee River. The result was a master plan for Vacuum Oil Brownfield Opportunity Area, which is intended to guide efforts to redevelop the site and improve the surrounding community.

The 58-acre Vacuum Oil BOA project site is a collection of public and privately held properties along the west bank of the Genesee River between the Ford St. bridge and the abandoned railroad bridge connecting to the UofR river campus, according to the city's website. 

Last February, the city applied for state funding to help pay for investigation, clean up, and reuse of sites within the BOA — the 24-acre Vacuum Oil site in particular. During a PLEX neighborhood meeting last night, Mark Gregor, the city's manager of environmental quality, told residents that the city is still working to move the project forward.

"We're still very focused on the area," Gregor said. 
The application seeks additional state brownfield opportunity area funding. But city officials also plan to pursue other grants that would help advance goals of the Vacuum Oil master plan, said Kimberly Baptiste of Bergmann Associates, the city's consultant for the plan.

The city has also submitted an application for state funds via the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council to pay for the design and construction of a natural play area to replace an existing playground on Exchange Street, Baptiste says. That project would also include a trail connecting the playground and the Genesee Riverway Trail. Officials expect to get word about the grant in December.

As the redevelopment effort progresses, the master plan will result in as many as 16 to 17 ongoing projects, Gregor told the audience. He said that the city will want to hear from neighborhood residents on how they'd like to be kept in the loop on those projects.

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