CHRISTOPHER LENNEY/WATERTOWN DAILY TIMESRACER Trust Deputy Redevelopment Manager Patrica Spitzley, right, addresses guests recently on potential interest in the remediated General Motors property. A new video produced by RACER Trust touts the success of the cleanup at the former GM Powertrain site, and promotes the 217-acre site for future use.

MASSENA — A new video produced by RACER (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) Trust touts the success of the cleanup at the former GM Powertrain site, and promotes the 217-acre site for future use.

The documentary-style video is titled “Massena, N.Y.: Prepare for Prosperity,” according to a new release issued Tuesday by RACER Trust. It can be found at https://youtu.be/QXNUyOXXzFM.

“RACER Trust’s environmental cleanup team, under the leadership of our New York Cleanup Manager Brendan Mullen, has been stellar in its execution of our activities in Massena, meeting EPA project standards flawlessly and preparing the property to once again be an engine of prosperity for Massena and the North Country.” Elliott P. Laws, of EPLET, LLC, administrative trustee of RACER Trust said in a statement.

“The cleanup was at times complex, but it has been carried out safely, effectively and collaboratively, meeting all of the goals and benchmarks set forth by the EPA,” he said. “We’re very proud of our work in Massena and look forward to attracting a buyer who will invest in job creation and productive reuse of the property.”

Remediation work at the site began in 2011 after RACER 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 in 2011 with the demolition of the 890,000-square-foot facility that covered about 20 acres.

Now, as work gets set to wrap up this year, the video summarizes RACER Trust’s cleanup at the site to position it for redevelopment and beneficial reuse. 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 cleaning up. Once cleanup is complete, RACER Trust will work with the EPA to have the site removed from the EPA’s Superfund program.

Marketing efforts both in the United States and Canada to find buyers for the property have been ongoing.

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.

In October, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe sought local support for its proposed purchase of land on the south side of the site, which would be used to develop an Akwesasne Heritage Complex. Tribal officials were looking to purchase approximately 46.63 acres of land to develop a complex that would include a new library, museum, archive facility and welcome/tourism center, along with ecotourism walking trails, and canoe, kayak and fishing areas.

No decision has yet been made on that proposal, partially because of concerns about the loss of tax revenue if the property becomes part of the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, and how the town of Massena and county would be made whole for that loss.

The town of Massena has offered support for the project, while the North Country Redevelopment Task Force and St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators must also write letters of support, which has not yet happened.

St. Lawrence County Legislator Anthony J. Arquiett, D-Helena, who also serves as the chairman of the North Country Redevelopment Task Force, said they’re not trying to hinder the project, but want to ensure that all of their concerns are addressed before making a decision.

Meanwhile, marketing efforts continue.

“We are very encouraged by the market’s expressions of interest in our Massena property. Its location, infrastructure, access to low-cost, renewable energy and workforce availability all have gotten the attention of businesses that have specific capacity needs that an investment in this property can help them fulfill,” Mr. Laws said.

“We are pleased to have reached this point in preparing the property, but we will be satisfied only after the property has changed hands and the new owner is maximizing its redevelopment potential for the good of the community,” he said.

The gist of it

n WHAT: RACER Trust has produced a new video called “Massena, N.Y.: Prepare for Prosperity”

n WHY: The documentary-style video touts the success of cleanup at the former GM Powertrain site and promotes the site for future use

n WHERE: The video can be found at https://youtu.be/QXNUyOXXzFM

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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