The City of Little Falls and Herkimer County IDA are currently working to complete a “Brownfield Opportunity Area” or “BOA” Plan focused on revitalizing much of the City’s waterfront neighborhood.

The Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Program is operated by the New York State Department of State and provides State planning funds to community-based organizations (CBOs) and municipalities to develop community plans for areas with multiple vacant properties or brownfields. Since the program began in 2005, the program has distributed $45 million across the State for planning and pre-development activities. While historically focused on brownfield sites, the program has evolved over time to take a more general look at opportunities for investment and revitalization of underutilized, abandoned, or vacant sites. The intent of the BOA program is to undertake neighborhood-scale plans that acknowledge that the presence of nearby vacant, abandoned, underutilized, and brownfield sites may be impacting investment in the larger community.

John Piseck, CEO of the Herkimer County IDA, stated, “It is truly important to look at how we can revitalize this area and make it productive again. Brownfields are no longer considered blight, but a place for a new beginning.”

The City of Little Falls previously received funding from the NYSDOS to prepare a “BOA Pre-Nomination,” the first phase of BOA planning, which was completed in 2020. In the intervening years, there have been notable changes in Little Falls, including its selection as a DRI community and the associated planning undertaken through that process, completion of the Reimagine the Canals planning effort, and the City’s selection as an Empire State “Trail Town.”

The City has convened a committee of stakeholders to advance the 2020 Pre-Nomination to a complete BOA Plan and subsequent BOA designation. With the BOA designation, the City can leverage the program benefits to advance key projects and build on its successful designation as both a DRI community and Trail Town.

Mayor Deborah Kaufman said, “We’re excited about the opportunity to update and finish our 2018 Brownfield study. Thanks to the help of John Piseck and IDA, we are finally moving the ball forward in our adaptive reuse goals.”

“This study will help us identify opportunities to turn our vacant, underutilized properties into much-needed lodging and housing assets that can breathe new life into the city’s repopulation and extraordinary quality of life,” Kaufman stated.

The City and IDA are being assisted by LaBella Associates to complete the planning process. Project resources will continue to be shared on the City and IDA websites and via social and traditional media outlets. Multiple opportunities will also be provided throughout the planning process to ensure public feedback. If you have any questions or comments about the planning process, please contact Norabelle Greenberger, AICP, Senior Planner at LaBella Associates, at ngreenberger@labellapc.com or 518-824-1933.