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Auburn Sparks

This map details the target area of the Auburn Sparks program (photo courtesy of the city of Auburn).

The city of Auburn was designated by the state as a Brownfield Opportunity Area, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced Thursday.

The city has been working toward this designation for several years and in 2015 launched the Auburn Sparks program, a community-driven effort to revitalize about 570 acres around downtown and the Owasco River corridor. Auburn's BOA area includes sites such as the Auburn Correctional Facility and the Bombardier plant and is characterized by over 13 brownfield sites totaling 60 acres, as well as numerous other vacant and/or underutilized sites, according to a press release from the governor's office. 

Auburn received a $389,338 planning grant from the state "to put forth a comprehensive revitalization strategy to promote effective redevelopment and enhanced environmental quality in each area," according to the press release. The Department of State, which administers the program, determined Auburn's plan met the necessary requirements and criteria for designation. Auburn is now one of 47 brownfield communities in the state. 

"Thanks to Governor Cuomo's efforts in designating the Auburn Sparks area as a Brownfield Opportunity Area, we now have tools in place to start rebuilding and revitalizing the community," Mayor Michael Quill said in a statement. "This project will bring immeasurable benefits to the city of Auburn and we are excited to see it come to fruition."

Added state Sen. Pamela Helming, "The important funding provided through the Brownfield Opportunity Area Designation will help the City of Auburn develop a plan for the future. The City of Auburn is already working aggressively to enhance neighborhoods, rebuild downtown, and has successfully transformed itself into a tourist destination. This funding will allow them to further build on these efforts. As State Senator, I will continue to partner with the Governor and Mayor Quill to deliver new opportunities for Auburn as it continues its renaissance."

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