For Immediate Release - August 26, 2009


Funding will lead to redevelopment of the Fisherville Mill in Grafton

GRAFTON - Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's Brownfields Support Team Initiative, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today announced the commitment of more than $1.2 million to address environmental contamination at the former Fisherville Mill property in Grafton. The Brownfields Support Team Initiative, a multi-agency pilot program, will provide funds for this historic manufacturing site to be redeveloped as a mixed-use smart growth community, which will create significant public open space opportunities.

"This funding award represents a tremendous milestone for the Fisherville Mill redevelopment project," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "It's a notable accomplishment under the Brownfields Support Team Initiative that proves again the proactive teaming of state and federal agencies can lead to renewed development at a complex brownfield site."

The announcement marks the commitment of funding for the project by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) through two grants from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). More than $1 million will be funded through EPA's Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Program, which was expanded this year through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. LUST funding will be used to remediate the historic petroleum contamination along the Blackstone River Canal, including the sources of the release and the contaminated canal sediments. Up to $200,000 will come from MassDEP's competitive brownfield assessment grant, awarded by EPA in May 2009. This funding will be used to characterize hazardous material contamination on other portions of the site. In addition, MassDevelopment has provided $300,000 in financing from its Brownfields Redevelopment Fund to the current property owner, and has invested nearly $1 million in the site over the past decade.

"We are thrilled to be able to help this important redevelopment project move forward with the commitment of MassDEP's federal grant funding," said MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt. "We are very grateful to EPA Region One for providing us this funding and generously supporting our state brownfields efforts for over a decade."

Fisherville Mill was destroyed by fire in 1999. The 35-acre former mill property along the Blackstone River in South Grafton is planned for mixed-use redevelopment with 200-plus residences, in addition to green space and access to the future Blackstone River Bikeway. Currently, redevelopment of the site is complicated by the presence of oil and volatile organic compounds in groundwater, soil, sediment and surface water.

"I am pleased this property was selected as one of the sites for the Brownfield Support Team's pilot program and the Administration has made a commitment to Grafton by allocating the necessary funding to clean up this historic site" stated Senator Michael Moore. The Fisherville Mill fire is Grafton's largest fire on record and completely destroyed the 35-acre property. The redevelopment and open space opportunities that will be created at this site as a result of these clean-up efforts will greatly revitalize the area and in turn benefit the residents of South Grafton."

In July 2008, the Patrick-Murray Administration announced that five sites located across the Commonwealth were selected for assistance through a pilot program known as the Brownfields Support Team Initiative. This multi-agency initiative was created to provide proactive, concentrated state assistance to communities undertaking cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields. The five projects are led by staff from key state and federal agencies including MassDEP, MassDevelopment, and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED). The Fisherville Mill Brownfield Support Team also includes the EPA, the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the Attorney General's Office.