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"Border Crossing Brownfields: Regional Planning and Financing"

By Mayor Anthony M. Masiello

Buffalo Mayor Masiello, who serves as vice-chair of the Conference's Brownfields Task Force, shared his perspectives on a major new initiative for the greater Buffalo region, which includes bordering areas of Ontario, Canada, called the "Buffalo/Fort Erie International Gateway."

The gateway project is expected to serve as a catalyst for the region, by promoting a healthy environment, vibrant economy and diverse communities. Masiello talked about the challenge of brownfields in this area where past industrial activity was concentrated to take advantage of its favorable location on the Great Lakes. He praised the work of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust of Toronto, Canada, its key partner in helping to shape this new vision for the area's gateway.

Masiello explained how "progress in past years has been slowed due to the lack of a regional plan and regional strategy." He also discussed the critical importance of dealing with the many brownfields in the area. "Costs of cleanup are substantial, and we need help in cleaning up these sites. And, environmental liability is a big obstacle," Masiello said.

In discussing how the focus on the broader regional development, he said this strategy allow us to focus on "regional real estate markets issue." He emphasized that "it is more economically and environmental sound to use existing properties, not taking more greenfields." He concluded his remarks, stating, "If we clean it, they will come."

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