Tribe's Brownfields Program Resumes Removing Unsafe Structures
AKWESASNE - The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe's Brownfields Program is moving forward once more with the demolition of abandoned homes and structures in Akwesasne. The Program is picking up where it left off in 2019, when several tribal programs worked together to safely demolish and remove three (3) of 25 unsafe structures previously identified in the community.
"This initiative is the result of a 2015 callout where individuals had Phase I Assessments conducted on old structures located on their properties," said the Tribe's Brownfields Redevelopment Specialist, Julia Jacobs. Jacobs added, "These assessments entailed the identification of structures that pose a danger to public health and the environment, which included collecting information on any hazardous substances and other potential contamination."
The Tribe's Brownfield Program was planning to resume work in 2020 before the COVID-19 Pandemic. Thanks to the assistance of Tribal Council, efforts have resumed this week to remove two (2) of the 22 abandoned homes.
"Having a safe and healthy environment continues to be a priority for us," noted the Tribal Council, as they continue to improve public safety and address public health concerns. Tribal Council added, "We are proud to allocate funding needed to safely remove the remaining structures that pose a risk to the community."
Funding for the Brownfields Program is supplemented by $150,000 received from the BIA to cover the cost of hauling and disposing of the debris. Additional funding was previously received from the EPA's 128a Brownfields Program to conduct Phase I Assessments on the abandoned homes.
Demolition of the 22 structures is expected to last more than one year and represents a start, as the Brownfields Program estimates there are upwards of 150 old structures located throughout the community. These are structures that pose safety hazards, have environmental concerns, and are susceptible to pests, mold, illegal trespassing, drug use, arson, as well as an eyesore for the developing tourism industry.
Removing all of the concerns associated with unsafe structures is a benefit, but an even greater benefit is that the property owners may use their newly cleared areas for building a new home, developing a business, planting a garden or trees, or for selling the property.
For more information, please contact SRMT Brownfields Redevelopment Specialist, Julia Jacobs by phone at (518) 358-5937 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.