The Patrick/Murray Administration has announced the availability of increased federal funding for the Brownfield Support Team (BST) initiative and other brownfield sites across the Commonwealth. To mark the pilot program's progress and more than $2 million in new funding commitments, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray spoke at a pair of public events.
The first event involves funding for the Fisherville Mill redevelopment project in Grafton. The event on August 26 celebrated the award of $1 million-plus in federal stimulus leaking underground storage tank (LUST) funding and up to $200,000 in competitive EPA brownfields funding to assess and clean the mill property.
The second event involves funding for the Indian Orchard Business Park project in Springfield. This event on August 27 marks the commencement of demolition activities using more than $900,000 in federal funds and the availability of up to $200,000 in competitive EPA brownfields funding for community-wide projects.
These events follow a celebration on July 1, noting the start of pre-cleanup demolition work at the South Worcester Industrial Park in Worcester.
Brownfield Support Team Initiative
The Brownfield Support Team (BST) Initiative is aimed at assisting Massachusetts communities with the next generation of complex brownfield projects. Under the direction of MassDEP, MassDevelopment, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), the five projects were selected in 2008:
- Indian Orchard Business Park (IOBP) in Springfield
- South Worcester Industrial Park (SWIP) in Worcester
- Fisherville Mill in Grafton
- Ted's for Tires in Haverhill
- City Pier in Fall River
Accomplishments since the kickoff of the initiative include:
- Commitment of over $3 million in MassDEP and MassDevelopment assessment and cleanup funding
- Funding for Grafton, Springfield and other communities through a $1 million competitive EPA coalition assessment grant awarded to MassDEP in May 2009
- Allocation of up to $2 million in federal stimulus funding through MassDEP's Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) grant from EPA
- Project management, technical and regulatory assistance for the five pilot communities
Brownfields and the Green Economy
Brownfield redevelopment is a key contributor to the Commonwealth's emerging green economy. One example of that contribution is the planned 259 Quincy Street redevelopment project in Dorchester, where the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation is transforming a vacant automobile garage into a LEED-certified green business center. The facility will contain 1,000 to 10,000 square feet of space to lease to green businesses, creating 40-50 jobs in this state-designated Environmental Justice Community (EJC). Funding and technical assistance from MassDEP, MassDevelopment, EPA, and numerous other agencies are making this project possible.
MassDEP is also exploring the feasibility of building solar and wind power installations on capped landfills and other brownfields, and using efficient and renewable energy sources to power long-term site cleanup systems.
Eleven Years of Brownfield Success
The landmark Massachusetts Brownfields Act was passed in 1998. Incentive programs created by the legislation were among the first of their kind in the nation, requiring close coordination among state environmental and economic development agencies. In the 11 years since the Act, more than 1,400 projects have been assisted by state programs which include:
- Liability protection through amendments to the state's cleanup law and the Attorney General's Brownfields Covenant Not to Sue program
- Financial tools, ranging from grants, low-interest loans and insurance subsidies to tax credits and a municipal tax abatement option
- Technical and regulatory assistance from MassDEP's regional brownfield points-of-contact
- Under the leadership of the Patrick/Murray administration, assistance for brownfield redevelopment remains a high priority as a way to protect the environment and revitalize the Commonwealth's economy.