Cleanup of former GM site nears end

The cleanup of the former GM Powertrain site is almost at the finish line. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — The cleanup of the former GM Powertrain site is almost at the finish line.

“The cleanup is very close to being finished,” said St. Lawrence County Legislator Anthony J. Arquiett, D-Helena, who also serves as the chairman of the North Country Redevelopment Task Force.

Remediation work began after RACER (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) Trust was given the title to the property, as well as the responsibility for the cleanup activities ordered by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The property was owned by the former General Motors Corp. before its 2009 bankruptcy. Remediation began with the demolition of the 890,000-square-foot facility that covered about 20 acres.

RACER representatives are working closely with the North Country Redevelopment Task Force, local elected officials, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state Department of Environmental Conservation and other stakeholders to identify potential future uses for the site that are consistent with the environmental cleanup being conducted at the site, and long-term stewardship.

RACER Trust has actively been marketing the site both in the United States and Canada to find buyers for the property.

“The marketing efforts have been ongoing. I’ve been in conversations steadily with RACER Trust. They’ve been fielding offers,” M. Arquiett said.

If someone expresses an interest in the site, RACER Trust has six criteria to consider, including the purchase price. It also looks at the number of jobs that would be created, as well as whether the entity will interfere with or increase environmental costs. In addition, RACER Trust looks at any other benefits the entity will bring to the community, such as a reduction of blight, an increased tax base or any other kind of economic development opportunities.

As part of the marketing effort, RACER Trust had produced a video last that touted the success of the cleanup and the promoted the 17-acre site for future use. The documentary-style video was titled “Massena, N.Y. Preparing for Prosperity.” It can be found at https://youtu.be/QXNUyOXXzFM.

The video summarizes RACER Trust’s cleanup at the site to position it for redevelopment and beneficial use. It recaps the property’s use and importance to the community as a source of jobs and tax revenue, as well as legacy contamination that RACER Trust has been cleanup up.

Once cleanup is complete, RACER Trust will work with the EPA to have the site removed from the EPA’s Superfund program.

“A lot of effort continues to be put forward,” Mr. Arquiett said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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