New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) has announced $15 million in grants for environmentally innovative projects through the Green Innovation Grant Program (GIGP). The funds were awarded to 40 municipalities, non-profits, and businesses throughout New York for clean water infrastructure projects that spur environmental innovation, build capacity for green infrastructure, and facilitate technology transfer.
“Green infrastructure saves precious taxpayer dollars, revitalizes communities, improves the quality of our waters, and makes our communities more economically competitive,” said EFC President and CEO Matthew J. Driscoll. “New York State has made green industry a priority and is quickly becoming the nation’s leader in green infrastructure. EFC is proud to provide the premier program to accomplish these goals.”
The grants will assist communities with projects that encourage economic growth, community revitalization, and development of cost-cutting solutions for water quality projects. In addition, the program expands green collar job opportunities across the State and builds upon a legacy of green public works projects and entrepreneurship.
EFC solicited projects to identify green infrastructure opportunities that were not only sustainable and innovative, but also those that were unique and educational prototypes for future projects. EFC received 96 applications for projects seeking approximately $46 million in financial assistance. The $15 million in grant awards leverages a $75 million investment in green infrastructure for communities across New York State.
“Green infrastructure involves ingenious methods to treat polluted runoff by slowing it down, spreading it out, and soaking it into soils in a manner that mimics nature,” said Joe Martens, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Chairman of EFC’s Board. “The grants we announce today will help our hard-pressed municipalities to improve water quality while beautifying and revitalizing urban areas — a win-win.”
GIGP provides two types of funding for green projects: design grants to assist with the development of technical documentation and plans for the building of environmentally innovative projects, and construction grants to assist with the costs of building projects. Each grant recipient must be eligible under the New York State Revolving Fund (SRF) Program and meet the criteria for funding under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Green Project Reserve. A full list of the grant recipients announced today is available at www.efc.ny.gov/GIGP2. Some of the projects include:
- City of Rome, Rod Mill Reuse Strategy: Rome will use green infrastructure to retrofit five acres of existing concrete into a pervious parking lot to support a public boat launch for the Erie Canal. Locally manufactured solar-LED lighting, a broad diversity of tree species, and functional greenspaces will be used for a well-designed, pedestrian-friendly connection between the Canal and Rome’s downtown. The project is designed to handle nearly 100% of the stormwater from this site, which is located in the City of Rome’s Brownfield Opportunity Area on the Erie Canal.
- Buffalo Sewer Authority and Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER, Green Streets Demonstration Project: Buffalo will demonstrate the use of green streets as a cost-effective alternative to sewer separation in the Bird Avenue sewershed. In addition to creating a walkable area for residents, the installation of rain gardens, native plants, and porous pavement will help filter impurities from the roadway while beautifying the area. The Buffalo Sewer Authority and Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER will collaborate with the community to provide a model of how to revitalize streets throughout the City while addressing critical stormwater management issues.
- Great Neck Water Pollution Control District (Nassau County), Microturbine Co-Generation Facility: the District will construct two microturbines to generate electricity using digester gas as a stand-alone project to enhance and support several existing and proposed green initiatives that aim to minimize waste, increase use of recycled materials, and conserve energy at the wastewater treatment plant. The estimated energy savings of $93,000 per year will offset costs to taxpayers for other improvements to the facility.
- City of Yonkers, Saw Mill River Daylighting Project: City of Yonkers will “daylight” the Saw Mill River at Larkin Plaza near its confluence with the Hudson River. The river, which is currently under a parking lot and urban plaza, will be restored into a naturalized river with public access in the center of Yonkers’ rejuvenated downtown area. Funding will support green components of this project, including construction of 4,000 square feet of tidal wetland.
EFC created the Green Innovation Grant Program as part of its effort to distribute funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the only State to apply their “green” dollars in this manner. From its inception, the program has elicited overwhelming interest and positive responses from every corner of the State and even nationally. The USEPA recognized this ground-breaking program by awarding the New York State Clean Water SRF the 2009 Pisces Award for GIGP. The GIGP is implemented through New York’s Clean Water SRF and funded with a grant from the USEPA.
For additional information on the Green Innovation Grant Program, please visit www.efc.ny.gov/GIGP.