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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.7 Million to Facilitate Commercial Redevelopment of the Former Bethlehem Steel Plant Site in Lackawanna, New York, Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.7 million grant to the Buffalo Erie County Industrial Land Development Corporation, Buffalo, New York, to install new water and sewer systems that will spur new business growth and economic development at the Former Bethlehem Steel Plant Site in Lackawanna. This EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $670,000 in local funds and is expected to help create 100 jobs and generate $18 million in private investment.

“The Trump Administration is fulfilling the President’s promise to America’s coal workers,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This EDA investment will provide the region with ample opportunities for near-term development, ultimately leading to the diversification of the regional economy to support advanced manufacturing and create jobs for the people of New York.”

“This project is vital to rebuilding Erie County’s economy,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “Bringing new private investment to the Bethlehem Steel plant site, which also serves as a designated Foreign Trade Zone, means new jobs for local residents. The project’s location in an Opportunity Zone will further transform the local and regional economy.”

This project is funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) program, through which EDA will award funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.

The funding announced today goes to one of New York’s 514 Opportunity Zones. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources webpage. To learn more about Opportunity Zone best practices, see the recently released White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report (PDF) to President Trump.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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