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Marlborough Receives $150,000 from EPA for Brownfields Project; Part of 80 Give by Agency to Communities Nationwide

Release Date: 05/20/2002
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, EPA Press Office (617) 918-1013

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it will spend $2.25 million to help assess, clean and redevelop abandoned, contaminated sites throughout New England, including $150,000 for an ongoing brownfields project in Marlborough.

"Reclaiming America's brownfields properties is an effective way to help revitalize and reinvigorate our nation's blighted neighborhoods while at the same time preventing urban sprawl," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman.

In all, five brownfields projects in Massachusetts – in the cities of Marlborough, Somerville, Holyoke, Northampton, as well as in one Franklin County – received grants today totaling $950,000. They were part of more than $14 million in brownfields grants to assess the contamination of abandoned properties that were given to in 80 communities around the nation today.

"These grants will bring much needed momentum to community brownfields programs in Marlborough, in Massachusetts, and all across New England," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "Dozens of contaminated sites in the region have already been successfully restored through this program. The money we offer to the communities in our region today ensures even more successes down the road."

The city of Marlborough is receiving $150,000 in supplemental assistance for its Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot project. In recent years, redevelopment of brownfields has been a key element in the city's revitalization efforts.

The original grant money was used for assessments at four properties, and initial testing revealed some contamination at three sites, but further testing is required. Marlborough will use supplemental funding to complete site testing and cleanup planning for the three sites, which are located in the heart of the city — the Old Train Depot site, Seymour Oil Storage site, and Frye Shoe Manufacturing Company site.

"This is great news," said William J. Mauro Jr., mayor of the city of Marlborough, "since it will assist the city in continuing the assessment work begun with the first EPA grant. The three sites that will be funded with this new grant are critical to the revitalization of the center of Marlborough. However, the reuse of these properties are dependant on the continuation of the assessment work. These new EPA funds will allow the city to conduct this work as the next important step in putting the sites to productive use."

Earlier this year, President Bush signed bipartisan legislation that will encourage the cleanup and redevelopment of old industrial properties – cleaning up our environment, creating jobs and protecting small businesses from frivolous lawsuits. In addition, the President's fiscal year 2003 budget request doubled the funds available through the EPA in FY 02 – from $98 million to $200 million – to help states and communities around the country clean up and revitalize brownfields sites.

Under the EPA's Brownfields Assessment Program, communities receive funding to assess contamination at abandoned and vacant sites, and to estimate the costs of cleaning up sites for redevelopment. Communities can also receive funding to establish revolving loan programs allowing them to provide low interest loans to clean up these sites. Once assessed and cleaned, these sites can be put back into productive use by the community.

"Brownfields reclamation is one of the great environmental success stories of the past decade," Whitman said. "But the story is hardly over. EPA and its partners in every state of the union are ready to write the next chapter in the brownfields story. Given the commitment of this Administration, I can guarantee you that story will have a very happy ending."

These grants bring the total amount that EPA has spend on brownfields projects in Massachusetts to date to approximately $25 million.

For more information, visit the following EPA Web sites:

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