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EPA Announces $450,000 for Brownfield Site Assessments in New England; Four Massachusetts Communities Targeted for Assessment Work

Release Date: 10/01/2001
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England Office today announced that it will invest $450,000 to assess environmental conditions at abandoned, contaminated sites in three New England states, including four communities in Massachusetts.

Among the communities receiving targeted site assessment work are Brookfield, Franklin, Monson and Northampton. Each community will receive $75,000 of work from EPA.

    • Northampton: Assessments will be done on three city parcels totaling 15 acres. The city hopes to use these former DPW yards as storage and recreational space for local schools.
    • Brookfield: Funds will be used to assess a former mill building, including about 10 acres at 54-67 Mill St. The town is planning a combination of municipal and private redevelopment for this parcel.
    • Franklin: Funds will be used to assess a 34-acre former sewage treatment site on Pond Street. The town hopes to have commercial development and open space on this parcel.
    • Monson: The town would like to see light manufacturing created at the former Omega Processing site, a former metal-plating and textile facility on 2.5 acres.
"These site assessments are an important first step in getting contaminated parcels cleaned up so they can be re-used again," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "Each of these communities should be applauded for the work they are doing to rebuild these abandoned properties, create jobs and increase the local tax base, and in some cases, to provide sorely needed recreation land and open space for their citizens."

"Congress and the EPA are committed to revitalizing these polluted sites that once were given up for dead. Neighborhoods and businesses across the country are proving that the best days of these Brownfields are in the future, not in the past," said U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy. "This grant will enhance the impressive efforts by the communities of Brookfield, Franklin, Monson and Northhampton to clean up their Brownfields and turn them into engines for new job creation and economic growth."

"These grants are a first step towards creating cleaner and healthier environments for our residents," added U.S. Senator John Kerry. "Once completed, successful Brownfields projects will help expand local tax bases and create jobs by converting abandoned and vacant properties into revitalized businesses."

"I welcome this federal assistance for Brownfield assessments, especially in Franklin," added Rep. Jim McGovern. "Franklin is a rapidly growing community and we must do everything possible to ensure that environmentally sound land is available -- not just for development, but also for preservation. Promoting smart growth and maintaining open space are critical to maintaining our quality of life and I'm pleased that the EPA is assisting Franklin in its efforts."

"The town of Monson is extremely pleased to receive this financial assistance from the EPA," Town Administrator Gretchen E. Neggers said. "This is precisely the type of interaction between government agencies that will promote the redevelopment of abandoned industrial properties for hte benefit of the community. We look forward to moving toward that goal with the Omega property in Monson."

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 November and take about eight to 10 months.

EPA New England's Brownfields Program has invested $47.1 million in assessing Brownfield sites throughout New England. 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. Today's assessments bring to $21.2 million the amount EPA has invested to date in Brownfields in Massachusetts since the inception of the Brownfields program in 1995

Similar 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 project created 45 new jobs and filled a vital community need. EPA funding for a site assessment of the former Post Office Square in Lowell was essential for the cleanup and redevelopment of this property, which is now the home of the 6,000-seat Paul E. Tsongas Sports Arena.

Other targeted site assessments were announced today for Middletown, Conn. and Providence, RI.