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STATE BILL WOULD FOSTER REUSE OF 'BROWNFIELDS'

I noted with interest The News' July 5 editorial regarding the redevelopment of a portion of the former Republic Steel property in South Buffalo into a greenhouse complex.

We have all driven past an abandoned factory or warehouse that appears to be of no use to anyone. Too often, these "brownfields" properties are contaminated with hazardous waste that seeps into soil and groundwater.

Legislation that I am supporting (A.1045), which has recently been passed by both houses of the State Legislature and will soon be sent to the governor for his signature, would promote the reuse and rehabilitation of existing land and buildings as part of business expansion, industrial parks, multi-tenant building or other projects that receive assistance from state economic development agencies.

This measure, dubbed the "Smart Growth Act," is consistent with the historic preservation, neighborhood preservation and land-use planning goals shared by most communities in the state. Too many times, industrial and commercial projects are simply sited on vacant land without any consideration of the possibility of redeveloping an existing facility.

Although the reuse of brownfields alone will not alleviate urban sprawl, it can be part of the solution.

I applaud the efforts of City Hall in seeking to redevelop the 1,200-acre brownfields area at the old Republic Steel plant and hope that the governor will see the wisdom in encouraging economic developers to consider reusing such sites, as they assist in planning business expansion, retention and location efforts.

ROBIN SCHIMMINGER Chairman
Economic Development Committee
New York State Assembly
Kenmore

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