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EPA and Worcester Officials Tour $32 Million Revitalization Project in Worcester
Release Date: 10/08/04
Contacts: Peyton Fleming, EPA Public Affairs (617-918-1008)
For Immediate Release: October 7, 2004 Release # 04-10-12
WORCESTER – Flanked by city officials and community activists, the director of EPA’s cleanup programs for New England today toured a 30-acre property in Worcester’s Main South neighborhood that is the focus of a major cleanup and revitalization effort.
Armed with a $200,000 cleanup grant from EPA and various other funds, the Main South Community Development Corp. has launched a $32 million revitalization project that will bring new housing, new athletic fields and a new Boys and Girls Club to the city’s Gardner-Kilby-Hammond Street neighborhood. The cleanup of 7.8 acres for the Boys & Girls Club and the athletic fields is already well underway and is expected to be completed in December so that construction work can begin next spring.
“This project is a win-win. It’s a win for the environment and it’s a win for Worcester’s exciting revitalization,” said Susan Studlien, director of EPA New England’s Office of Site Remediation and Restoration. “It’s a classic example of what the Brownfields program is all about – empowering local redevelopment efforts so that abandoned properties can be reclaimed while open green space can be preserved.”
“We knew from the beginning that large-scale environmental contamination could have been a deal breaker for this project,” said J. Stephen Teasdale, executive director of the Main South Community Development Corp. “With EPA’s help through assessment and cleanup grants, we were able to accurately determine the extent of the problem, develop a cost-effective solution and clean up the site. It’s collaborations like this that make Brownfields redevelopment possible.”
Working in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Worcester, Clark University and the City of Worcester, the Main South CDC has already raised more than $4.5 million of public and private funds for the project, including a $1 million HUD Brownfields Economic Development Initiative grant and $200,000 from EPA for cleanup work.
The project will convert dozens of vacant lots and substandard residential properties into 60-plus units of affordable housing for first-time homebuyers. The athletic field and track will be owned, operated and maintained by Clark University, but will be made available to the Boys & Girls Club and neighborhood residents.
The tour followed a workshop earlier in the day in Worcester in which EPA officials outlined a new round of Brownfields grants that are being made available nationally for site assessments, cleanups and revolving loan funds. Grant proposals are due to EPA by Nov. 12. EPA estimates about $100 million of funds will be made available to make up 200 grant awards. To learn more about the grants, visit the agency’s web site at www.epa.gov/ne/brownfields/index.html
Since 1995, EPA’s Brownfields Program has provided nearly $36 million for grants, site evaluations, job training and cleanup loan programs to dozens of communities and agencies across Massachusetts, including $1.3 million to the City of Worcester.
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