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New York Groups To Get $100,000 in Federal Funds For Long-Term Solutions To Environmental, Quality-of-Life Problems; EPA Awards Prestigious Sustainable Development Grants to Utica and Buffalo Orgs

Release Date: 04/16/1999
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(#99053) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Two organizations in New York State have been selected for prestigious federal Sustainable Development Challenge Grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency announced today. The groups Utica Community Action, Inc. in Utica and Broadway Market Management Corporation in Buffalo -- will be awarded $50,000 each for innovative projects that will link environmental quality with community well-being and long-term economic growth in their respective cities. The two New York projects were among only 41 projects chosen nationally by EPA from a pool of 650.

The federal Sustainable Development Challenge Grant Program is a nationally competitive grant program that provides seed money to encourage citizens, non-profits, local governments and businesses to collectively develop creative approaches to local environmental problems and at the same time, build healthy communities and economies. The program began in 1996 and, after final grant packages are awarded to this year's 41 national winners, will have funded a total of 96 projects for $10.5 million.

"We recognize that when communities have immediate economic and social needs, environmental issues sometimes take a back seat," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Administrator for Region 2. "The two cities that will receive Sustainable Development Challenge grants this year, however, have developed plans to show that improved quality-of-life and environmental health go hand-in-hand that pollution reduction can lead to improved health among residents, more open space can mean successful farms and healthy food for children, and that concern for the environment can bring a neighborhood together. We are very pleased to see two cities in New York State selected for these distinguished awards, and look forward to seeing the results of their work." Utica Community Action, Inc.'s grant of $50,000 will go toward the first sustainable community initiative ever undertaken in the city. In partnership with the Mayor, Oneida County Economic Development Growth Enterprises and other non-profit organizations, Utica Community Action will use the EPA grant to identify citizen concerns about environmental, social and economic issues, and then undertake pilot projects to address those concerns. Critical issues that the project will address include stemming illegal dumping, redeveloping brownfields for increased production and job opportunities, reducing the threats of childhood lead poisoning, redeveloping recreational areas and open space, and increasing the number of healthy food sources for low- income neighborhoods. Utica Community Action and its partners will ultimately develop a strategic plan for the city that will help to promote economic opportunities while improving the local environment and the quality-of-life.

The Broadway Market Management Corporation in Buffalo will use its $50,000 Sustainable Development grant to establish a direct urban market for locally-grown food products. Working in partnership with the Erie County Department of the Environment and Planning, the group will seek to alleviate two local problems the loss of rural crop lands due to suburban sprawl, and the lack of fresh produce in the low-income downtown area around the Broadway Market. The project will develop a plan to sell food grown by regional farmers to the 30,000 potential consumers living within a one-mile radius of the market. The project will also develop programs to link urban gardeners with expert rural producers. The increase in the local farmers' consumer base will help keep farms and dairy lands in operation, preserve the rural character of Western New York, and strengthen the region's economy. Consumers, in the meantime, will have an increased understanding of the complexities of farm life, and access to healthier locally-grown food.

The two groups will officially receive the grants this summer.

For more information contact:
Nina Habib Spencer, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3670 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: