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EPA Gives Hartford $75,000 in Brownfields Grants for Site Assessment

Release Date: 02/15/2001
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England Office announced today it will invest $450,000 to assess environmental conditions at abandoned, contaminated sites in six New England communities, including one in Hartford, Conn.

The targeted site assessment in Hartford will pay to evaluate contamination at a 2.9-acre former industrial site at 169 Bartholomew Ave. The city hopes to turn this lot into a transportation center with commercial and industrial uses.

The transportation center is a key component of the city's effort to revitalize the city's Parkville neighborhood, which is a couple miles west of the city's downtown. The centerpiece of this effort is a unique 12-mile-long busway that will provide Parkville residents with quick and convenient transportation to downtown Hartford and suburbs in the west. The busway will include 12 stops, including two in Parkville.

"This site assessment will play an important role in Hartford's efforts to clean up and restore this important property in Parkville," said Ira Leighton, acting regional administrator for EPA's New England office.

"The city of Hartford is excited at the prospect of receiving these funds to assist in removing toxic substances that have resulted from past industrial uses on that site," Mayor Michael P. Peters said. "These funds will pave the way for new transit-oriented development and also assist the city of Hartford to prepare for future development."

"This assistance - in essence - sweeps away years of decay and in its place plants hope and new economic renewal," said U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd. "It helps provide Hartford with the resources they need to invest in a better quality of life and also a better future."

"The funding provided by the EPA is a crucial step in the on-going revitalization efforts of Hartford," U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman said. "These resources should make the cleanup and redevelopment of this potentially dangerous site attractive to businesses and help inject new life into the city."

"Assessing the conditions of this site in Hartford is a positive first step in the process of rebuilding and revitalizing the neighborhoods and communities affected by contaminated areas such as this one," U.S. Rep. John B. Larson said. " As a member of the Livable Communities Task Force, I am pleased that the EPA has decided to make this generous investment in the future of Hartford, as it lays the groundwork for making the area more environmentally and economically sound."

"This good news will move our efforts forward," Hartford City Manager Saundra Kee Borges said. "The city of Hartford is completing a transportation/land use study in collaboration with the Capitol Region Council of Governments and the Federal Transit Administration. We expect that the study will help to prepare us for infrastructure development in this urban business center."

Under the agency's Brownfields Program, environmental consultants contracted by EPA will perform the assessments - costing about $75,000 each - to determine the nature and extent of contamination on the properties, and to estimate the costs of cleaning up the site for redevelopment. The assessments are scheduled to begin in April and take about eight to 10 months.

EPA New England's Brownfields Program has invested $3 million in assessing brownfield sites throughout New England, including $974,000 in Connecticut, since February 1999. This money has helped communities restore and develop contaminated urban properties across New England, leading to the creation of thousands of jobs and generating millions of dollars in income and tax revenue. This brings to $9.3 million the amount EPA has invested to date in brownfields in Connecticut.

Similar Brownfields site assessment awards have been central to redeveloping abandoned sites throughout New England. In Somerville, a site assessment helped achieve the $14 million redevelopment of an abandoned industrial building that became home this year to an assisted living facility operated by the Visiting Nurses Association. The development created 45 new jobs in Somerville and filled a vital community need. EPA funding for a site assessment of the former Post Office Square in Lowell was essential for the clean-up and redevelopment of this property, which is the new home of the 6,000-seat Paul E. Tsongas Sports Arena.

Other assessment grants were given to Worcester, Lawrence and Fall River, Mass.; Lewiston, Maine, and Montpelier, Vermont.