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EPA Announces $450,000 for Brownfield Site Assessments in New England; Providence Gets $75,000 Assessment Grant
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 one site in Providence, RI.
The grant to Rhode Island will help assess contamination at the former Rau Fasteners manufacturing site, a 3.5 acre parcel with two buildings. The West Elmwood House Development Corp. hopes to turn this site into a complex with affordable housing, a community center, commercial space and green areas.
"This site assessments is an important first step in getting a contaminated parcel cleaned up so it can be re-used again," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "Providence should be applauded for the work it is doing to rebuild abandoned properties, create jobs and increase the local tax base, and to provide sorely needed recreation land and open space for their citizens."
"I'm pleased at the successful efforts of Rhode Island's local officials in redeveloping urban areas such as the former Rau Fasteners manufacturing site in Providence," Sen. Lincoln Chafee said. "As a member of the Senate Environment Committee, I've spent the last two years working on legislation to increase federal funding for this type of brownfields rehabilitation. My brownfields bill, which was approved unanimously by the Senate earlier this year, would encourage communities like Providence to redevelop abandoned industrial sites, thus reducing urban blight and sprawl, preserving green spaces, and bringing these properties back onto the tax rolls."
"Throughout Rhode Island our challenge is how best to use private and public resources to turn blighted, abandoned lots into environmentally safe, productive properties that improve the quality of life for families, neighborhoods, and business owners," Sen. Jack Reed said. "This funding will be a tremendous asset in Providence's effort to reclaim property that is currently an eye-sore and a detriment to economic development."
"Thanks to this federal grant by the Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Providence will be able to conduct a comprehensive environmental study at the former Rau manufuacturing site," Rep. James R. Langevin said. "Not only will this grant provide critical information, but it also lays the groundwork for the construction of decent and affordable housing for financially struggling families in Providence."
"The City is pleased to have EPA assistance to expedite the City's site analysis and reuse plans," Northampton Mayor Mary Clare Higgins said.
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. This brings to $3.1 million the amount EPA has invested to date in Brownfields in Rhode Island 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 Monson, Northampton, Brookfield, and Franklin, Mass.