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EPA GIVES CITY OF MARLBOROUGH $200,000 BROWNSFIELD GRANT FOR ASSESSMENTS

Release Date: 06/21/1999
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the city of Marlborough was chosen to receive a $200,000 Brownfields assessment pilot grant for a former boot factory and tannery and to assess other sites along the Assabet river that may become part of a bike trail.

Marlborough is among three communities in Massachusetts and 57 nationally that have been chosen to receive a total of $11.4 million in Brownfields pilot grants, which are designed to help spur the assessment and cleanup of contaminated urban parcels so that they can be redeveloped. Taunton and Salem also received $200,000 grants.

The city of Marlborough will use its $20,000 grant to complete environmental assessments at the Frye Boot and Tannery Site and identify and assess properties along the Assabet River Rail Trail. Funds will also be used to conduct outreach activities such as newsletters and public meetings. A park on the former tannery site is one possible end use of that property.

"All over the country and all over New England, Brownfields sites like the ones in Marlborough are being cleaned up and restored, thereby creating news jobs, new tax revenues and new urban vitality," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England Administrator. "This $200,000 grant will provide much needed momentum to get the ball rolling in Marlborough, beginning with the crucial first step of getting some of these sites assessed so we can determine how much they are contaminated."

Marlborough Mayor William J. Mauro, Jr. said the funding supports a unique phase of development for the city.

"Along the Marlborough portion of the Assabet River Rail Trail, which is the former Boston and Maine railroad line, are sites which may have been contaminated by herbicides used in the maintenance of the railroad property," Mauro said. "Plans have been underway to develop these into a bicycle and recreation path. This grant enables the city to evaluate the extent of the contamination and thereby determine the cleanup costs involved in order to include the sites in the development of the path."

DeVillars said the Brownfield program is among numerous initiatives the Clinton Administration has launched to revitalize the nation's cities. Among those efforts is the recently-proposed Better America Bonds initiative, which would give cities, states and tribal governments the ability to issue nearly $10 billion in bonds. The interest-free bonds could be used for preserving open space, creating parks, preserving wetlands and cleaning up Brownfield sites.

A total of $1.4 million in Brownfield grants were awarded today to seven New England communities, including the following:

    • Salem will focus on the Boston, Bridge and Mason Street Corridor with its $200,000 grant. The city will inventory its Brownfields sites, conduct environmental site assessments at up to four sites and form an advisory group to help identify the sites.
    • Taunton will use the $200,000 to conduct site assessment work and cleanup planning at the West Water Street site, a 15-acre former tannery. The eventual business redevelopment of this parcel will generate full time jobs to area residents and spur other investors to making a commitment in this area.
"This program provides the funds necessary to assess the threats to public health while involving communities in the best possible future use for the sites," said U.S. Sen. John Kerry. "This funding will aid these communities in bolstering economic development and creating cleaner and healthier environments for their citizens."

Other grants to New England communities went to Haddam, New Milford and Winsted, Conn., and to the South Windsor Regional Planning Commission in Vermont.