Historic Village of Valley Falls Brownfield Opportunity Area
The Village of Valley Falls has received funding through the NYS Department of State Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) program to undertake a community-based planning effort. This effort will identify a unified vision for the Village's future and identify key opportunities for public improvement projects, environmental remediation, and the redevelopment of vacant and/or underutilized sites that celebrate the Village's rich history and natural resources.
How the BOA Program Works
Brownfield redevelopment begins with a planning process that enables communities to articulate a clear vision, goals, and strategies for redevelopment of brownfield sites and complementary public improvements.
State Designation of a Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) affirms the commitment of a community and New York State to realize the vision and goals established during the planning process.
With a community-supported plan in place, municipalities and private sector partners can begin to realize the vision and goals of the BOA plan. Designated BOA communities are eligible to access additional State funding and assistance to jumpstart the redevelopment process.
Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOAs) are neighborhoods within a community whose economic vitality has been negatively affected by real or perceived environmental conditions. These properties often are underutilized because the contamination (or perception thereof) has impeded redevelopment, resulting in a lack of investment and in some cases, deteriorated physical conditions that pose a public health and safety risk.
The Nomination Study developed for the Village of Valley Falls BOA will:
Include a detailed inventory and analysis of existing conditions within the study area
Identify a shared vision for the overall area and key redevelopment sites, and
Recommend improvements for targeted sites and public spaces and corridors.
When investments are made to the public realm and underutilized sites are remediated and redeveloped, these properties can increase surrounding property values, improve public health outcomes and incentivize additional investment.
THE STEERING COMMITTEE
The Steering Committee consists of key stakeholders, government staff, and local property owners who bring diverse perspectives and experiences to help inform and guide the planning process. The Steering Committee will review and resolve feedback received from stakeholders and community members, review and provide feedback on draft project deliverables, advise the Project Team on public outreach strategies, and assist with the coordination of community events.
The members of the Steering Committee are listed below:
Kristina Younger, Village of Valley Falls Project Manager
Lesley Zlatev, NYS Department of State Project Manager
J.P. Overocker, Valley Falls Mayor
John Sassatelli, Valley Falls Trustee
Brian Backstrom, Valley Falls Citizen (Former Trustee)
Shelley Carr, Valley Falls Citizen (Former Trustee)
Julie Weston, Valley Falls Treasurer / Citizen
Janet Weber, Valley Falls Village Clerk
Lauren Steven, Hoosic River Watershed Association (HooRWA)
Andy Kawczak, Hoosic River Watershed Association (HooRWA)
Bruce Nelson, Retired Geologist
THOMPSON MILL SITE
The former Thompson Mill is situated on the southern bank of the Hoosic River and at a significant entry point to the Village. This 24-acre site was operated as a textile factory by James Thompson & Co. until it closed in 1992. The Mill sat derelict for 25 years, and in 2009, a fire destroyed two of the three buildings and left the third in ruins. With concerns about the structural safety, contamination, and potential for vandalism, the Village pursued funding to assess the environmental conditions of the site and initiate a strategy for reuse.
Positioned at a remarkably scenic bend of the Hoosic River where Native American and Revolutionary War history abounds, the Thompson Mill site offers a unique opportunity to transform an industrial scar into a community asset. The BOA planning process will build upon all the work completed at the Mill site to-date to develop a community-based vision for re-activating this site as a public waterfront park.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE THOMPSON MILL
The Thompson Mill represented the soul of the Village of Valley Falls. For over 100 years, ending in 1992, the mill defined the town – employing most of its residents. According to the Pittstown Historical Society,
“The Thompson Mill was the heartbeat of the small Village of Valley Falls, and even if you did not work there you were aware of the morning, noon, and evening whistles. Keeping the whistles on time was extremely important, and woe be it to whoever pulled the chain, if it was off by several minutes. Most workers lived close by in the village and walked to work in the morning, home for lunch, and home again at night. It was the one common thread that tied most folks together.”
ENVIRONMENTAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE THOMPSON MILL
In 2017, the Village of Valley Falls was awarded a $200,000 Brownfield Opportunity Assessment Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that included the completion of Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) at the former Thompson Mill site. The Phase I and Phase II ESAs were conducted by Weston & Sampson in 2019. The Phase I ESA identified Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) across the site.
The Phase II ESA revealed:
Asbestos Containing Material, lead-based paint, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
Shallow soil (0-2 feet) within three limited areas is contaminated likely due to illegal dumping, fire, and historic operations
Archeologically significant artifacts
A preliminary reuse plan was developed by Weston & Sampson for the former Thompson Mill site, including the creation of a waterfront park. As part of this Nomination Study, the concept plan for this waterfront park will be refined and further developed with input from the community.
Weston & Sampson created a fact sheet detailing the environmental conditions, assessments, and future uses of the former Thompson Mill Site. Click here to see the document!
Environmental site analysis (ESA)
The former Thompson Mill Site underwent a Phase I ESA and a Phase II ESA in 2019.
Click here to see the documents!
Weston & Sampson developed a conceptual reuse site plan for the former Thompson Mill Site.
Click here to see the plan!
Phase I ESA
Phase II ESA
Check out this drone video of the former Thompson Mill site.
Credit to the Sheriff's Department as the agency and Flying 7 Drones on video production. The drone was piloted by CO Mark Drescher, Deputy Condo, and SCO Todd Smith.
Public open house
December 8, 2023
5PM - 7PM
11 Charles Street
Come share your feedback on proposed improvements and the conceptual plans for a new waterfront park at the site of the former Thompson Mill!
February 15, 2024
11 Charles Street
Come to submit comments on the final recommendations contained in the Historic Valley Falls BOA Nomination Study.
VILLAGE-WIDE YARD SALE
June 10, 2023
The Project Team engaged with the community while tabling at the Village-wide Yard Sale.