For Immediate Release - July 30, 2008

Brownfields Support Initiative Targets Five Pilot Sites Across Commonwealth

State Efforts Will Spur Cleanups and Economic Revitalization

BOSTON - Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray announced today that five sites located across the Commonwealth have been selected for assistance through the new Brownfields Support Team initiative. As unveiled by the Patrick-Murray Administration in May, this multi-agency initiative aims to help communities clean up contaminated sites and prepare them for redevelopment.

The five pilot sites are the former Chapman Valve/Crane Co. site in Springfield; South Worcester Industrial Park in Worcester; Fisherville Mill in Grafton; City Pier in Fall River; and Ted's for Tires in Haverhill.

"Redeveloping these sites will boost local economies, restore historic waterfronts, offer manufacturers easy access to major highways and railways, provide housing, shopping and recreational opportunities, and spur further development in downtown areas," said Governor Patrick.

"By focusing the attention and coordinated expertise of multiple state agencies on these five key sites, 108 acres of contaminated land will be cleaned up and restored to productive use, and we will learn valuable lessons that can be applied to other projects in the future," said Lieutenant Governor Murray.

More than 713 brownfield sites in 203 Massachusetts communities have received assistance from the Commonwealth's landmark Brownfields program since its inception in 1998, and the Brownfields Support Team initiative will expand upon that success as the law marks its 10th anniversary in August. The five pilot projects are:

  • Chapman Valve/Crane Co. - The City of Springfield has targeted the former Crane Co. manufacturing facility and adjacent abandoned Chapman Valve parcels for light industrial reuse. Currently, redevelopment of the sites is complicated by the presence of metals, petroleum and PCBs in some areas of the soil and groundwater. The project area is within a state-designated Environmental Justice community.
  • South Worcester Industrial Park - Consisting of several vacant manufacturing facilities that have been acquired by the City of Worcester for redevelopment, the South Worcester Industrial Park will become an 11-acre light industrial park with improved traffic connections to Interstates 290 and 90. The presence of petroleum and metals in the soil and asbestos in the remaining buildings currently complicates redevelopment of the site. The project area is within a state-designated Environmental Justice community and is adjacent to a freight rail corridor.
  • Fisherville Mill - Destroyed by fire in 1999, this 35-acre former mill property along the Blackstone River in South Grafton is planned for mixed-use redevelopment, including access to the future Blackstone River Bikeway. The Town of Grafton has designated the property a Smart Growth Zoning District under MGL Chapter 40R. Currently, redevelopment of the site is complicated by the presence of oil, volatile organic compounds and the solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) in soil, sediment and surface water.
  • City Pier - The City of Fall River has targeted the four-acre City Pier site for mixed-use redevelopment. Located along the Taunton River waterfront in a state-designated Environmental Justice community, redevelopment is likely to include hotel, restaurant, marina and office uses. The pier is adjacent to a proposed commuter rail station with potential service to Boston. Redevelopment of the site has been complicated by the presence of PCBs in soil and sediments.
  • Ted's for Tires - The Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority and the City of Haverhill plan to redevelop the former Ted's for Tires property as an intermodal transit station and parking facility. Located in downtown Haverhill in a state-designated Environmental Justice community, the new facility will combine commuter rail and local bus services. Currently, redevelopment of the site is complicated by the presence of petroleum in soil and groundwater.

The Brownfields Support Team initiative will bring together staff from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) and MassDevelopment to help municipalities solve the problems that impede the redevelopment of contaminated properties. Other state and federal agencies will participate depending on the needs of specific projects. These agencies could include the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Revenue, and federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

"The coordination and cooperation of these agencies in moving the Brownfields initiative forward will make this unique type of redevelopment beneficial not just to local communities but to the state as a whole," said Greg Bialecki, undersecretary for Housing and Economic Development.

"For more than 20 years, Massachusetts has witnessed how brownfields can provide a solid return on investment by transforming formerly contaminated, dormant and abandoned sites into redevelopment success stories," said MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt. "This initiative goes one step further in shepherding certain challenging projects back to productive use."

"I commend the Patrick Administration for creating this structured approach to redevelopment that streamlines the programs and services created ten years ago through the state's landmark brownfields legislation," said Robert L. Culver, MassDevelopment president and CEO. "We are eager to work with our partners on the Brownfields Support Team to bring these promising sites to their highest and best use."

The Brownfields Support Teams will work with communities to identify site- and project-specific issues that are hindering redevelopment of key properties. Support provided by the Brownfields Support Teams may include expedited site inspections, reviews, and approvals by MassDEP; technical assistance on expedited permitting from EOHED; funding for assessment and cleanup from MassDevelopment; and coordination with the Attorney General's Office on liability issues.

The five pilot sites were selected based on their location within Gateway Communities and Gateway Regions where MassDEP is providing technical assistance; in Growth Districts and/or 43D streamlined-permitting zones identified by EOHED; and in areas prioritized for municipal assistance by MassDevelopment.

The Commonwealth will celebrate "Brownfields Month" in November, with numerous activities being planned to mark the program's 10 years of success, and its program expansion.