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EPA-NEW ENGLAND ADMINISTRATOR, GOV. DEAN TOUR ABANDONED INDUSTRIAL BURLINGTON LAND EYED FOR REDEVELOPMENT

Release Date: 09/17/1996
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office; (617)918-4154 John Podgurski, Brownfields Coordinator; (617)573-9681

BOSTON -- EPA-New England Administrator John P. DeVillars joined Vermont Governor Howard Dean and Burlington city officials today on a tour of contaminated sites that will be redeveloped through a recently awarded grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The grant was awarded in June under EPA's Brownfields initiative, which promotes the return of unproductive commercial and industrial sites to economic use and ensures that future development is achieved in a sustainable, environmentally sound manner. EPA's New England office has made Brownfields redevelopment a top priority under its site cleanup and urban environmental protection initiatives and has recently brought $1.5 million to the region in Brownfields funding. Burlington will use its funds -- $200,000 -- to revitalize several properties throughout the city.

"EPA is extremely pleased to have awarded this grant to Burlington and I know that this city will use the money wisely on behalf of her environment and her economy," said John P. DeVillars, administrator for EPA's New England office. "The people who live, work and play in Burlington will benefit directly from this grant. The Brownfields initiative reflects EPA's commitment to supporting local initiative and building meaningful partnerships with the good people dedicated to sustainable economic development in cities like Burlington. And it represents yet another step forward in bringing smart land-use planning to the beautiful state of Vermont."

"The Brownfields initiative is an important tool for the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites," Dean said. "This program dovetails perfectly with what we're trying to accomplish in Vermont -- thoughtful planning that retains growth in downtown areas and lessens environmental impacts. We are grateful to the Clinton Administration for awarding Vermont's largest city a Brownfields grant."

"Thanks to the EPA's Brownfields Program, Burlington will be able to forge new links between environmental protection and economic development as we turn community liabilities into assets," said Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle.

There are roughly 40 acres of contaminated properties located within a three-mile radius of Burlington's central business district. The Brownfields project will employ a strong community participation process to select which sites will be targeted for redevelopment.

Today's tour stopped off at several potential sites, including: the Maltex Building on Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site; the core waterfront and urban reserve; a proposed Eco-Park Site; and, property along North Winooski Avenue.

Part of the grant will be used to hire a project coordinator, who will begin the following activities:

    • Engage affected neighborhoods through the establishment of an advisory council;
    • Identify and assess levels of contamination at the respective sites;
    • Identify and prioritize redevelopments plans;
    • Develop partnerships and obtain commitments from those who might assist in redeveloping sites;
    • Implement redevelopment plans;
    • Attract reinvestment and viable businesses to redeveloped sites; and,
    • Integrate remediation into a process that could be repeated elsewhere.
The project manager will establish a council to foster community participation in the process that will be patterned after the coordinating council currently overseeing the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site cleanup. The project will also help establish a protocol for other redevelopment issues in Burlington, such as the proposed Riverside Eco-Park project.

"The Brownfields program is an integral piece of our urban environmental agenda, which is improving the quality of life for city residents in every corner of New England," DeVillars added. "EPA will work hard to make sure this project contributes to the sustainable, well-planned growth of Burlington -- growth that Governor Dean, Senators Jeffords and Leahy and Congressman Sanders have done so much to promote. Here in Burlington, all us of -- EPA, the state, and our community partners -- will prove yet again that environmental protection and sustainable economic growth go hand in hand."