National Grid Funding Puts New Face on Old Eyesore

By Virginia Limmiatis

The holidays are coming early in Newton Falls this year with an economic development grant from National Grid.  Funding from the company’s Brownfield Redevelopment Program is helping Newton Falls Land Reclamation defray the costs of converting the former Newton Falls Paper Mill site into an environmentally friendly destination.

Newton Falls Land Reclamation founder Andy Leroux created the organization to reclaim the site with the long-term plan of building a Christmas tree farm, maple syrup retail outlet, a fishing and hunting lodge and a campground.

“Thank you, National Grid, for providing the crucial funding for this project. The additional funding allowed me to complete the demolition and remediation in a shorter amount of time and plant my first Christmas tree seedlings for next spring. Thanks to your assistance, the project is a success.”

The $22,300 Brownfield incentive helped offset $89,500 in project costs on the demolition and environmental remediation at the long-vacant property located at 875 County Rt. 60. The images that follow provide a ‘before and after’ illustration of the work performed:

BEFORE

“The cleanup and revitalization of former brownfields is a smart way to assure the success of any community’s growth,” said Alberto Bianchetti, National Grid’s Central New York Regional Director. “We are proud to partner with the Newton Falls Land Reclamation on a cleanup project that ultimately helps the entire community and offers conservation benefits, too.”

AFTER

 

The once sprawling Newton Falls Paper Mill, that founder James Newton expanded from a sawmill he built in 1894, grew over several decades to become the area’s largest employer. After several ownership changes, Newton Falls Fine Paper assumed operations in February 2007, but as pulp-and-paper markets sagged and foreign competition drove prices down, the mill closed in October 2010.

In January 2018, Leroux, a former Newton Falls Fine Paper vice president, purchased the site and cleanup was completed this fall. The initiative marks the 14th Brownfield Redevelopment incentive that National Grid has provided to northern New York businesses and communities, totaling more than $2.5 million in the region since the start of the program in 2003.

The Brownfield program is designed to fund demolition, remediation, utility-related infrastructure improvements and other costs necessary to redevelop a brownfield site or abandoned property. National Grid’s Economic Development team works with municipalities, local economic development organizations, chambers of commerce and private developers to identify eligible projects.

The program is among a suite of National Grid Shovel Ready economic development incentives that are used extensively in communities across the company’s upstate New York service area. Since 2003, the company has funded 1,600 projects across upstate New York totaling more than $124 million in grant funding, creating or retaining an estimated 57,000 jobs.

For more information on the program and other eligibility requirements, please visit www.shovelready.com.

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