AKWESASNE (WWTI) — The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe is continuing its work to remove unsafe structures on territory lands.
The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Brownfield Program has resumed its work to demolish abandoned homes and structure in Akwesasne. The Tribe confirmed that the program is “picking up where it left off” back in 2019, when three out of 25 unsafe structures were safely demolished.
“This initiative is the result of a 2015 callout where individuals had Phase I Assessments conducted on old structures located on their properties,” said the SRMT Brownfield Redevelopment Specialist Julia Jacobs. “These assessments entailed the identification of structures that pose a danger to public health and the environment, which included collecting information on any hazardous substances and other potential contamination.”
According to the Tribe, the Brownfield Program had plans to resume in 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Adding that with assistance from the Tribal Council, efforts to remove two additional buildings resumed in the second week of June 2021.
“Having a safe and healthy environment continues to be a priority for us,” noted the Tribal Council, as they continue to improve public safety and address public health concerns. Tribal Council added, “We are proud to allocate funding needed to safely remove the remaining structures that pose a risk to the community.”
The SRMT Brownfield Program is primarily funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The BIA supplemented $150,000 to cover the cost of hauling and debris disposal. Additional funding was also previously received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 128a Brownfield Program.
Demolition of the remaining 22 structures is expected to continue for over a year and represents a start, as the Brownfields Program estimates there are upwards of 150 old structures located throughout the community.