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EPA Awards Brownfield Redevelopment Money to Worcester, Mass.; Part of $73 Million Funded Nationwide

Release Date: 07/07/2003
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON – At a news conference today in Worcester, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a $200,000 grant to the Main South Community Development Corporation in Worcester to help assess, clean and redevelop abandoned, contaminated parcels known as Brownfields. Joining EPA were U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern and Worcester Mayor Timothy Murray.

The funding is part of $73 million in Brownfields grants recently announced, including $11.2 million to New England alone.

"These grants will help spur the cleanup of abandoned, contaminated parcels all across New England, especially in cities like Worcester," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "The project in the Gardner-Kilby-Hammond neighborhood is an ambitious one and I am glad that we can be a part of it."

This award will allow the Main South CDC to clean up five sites in the Gardner-Kilby-Hammond Street Neighborhood Revitalization Project. Future plans for these properties include affordable housing, a youth facility, and recreational space on 30 acres in cooperation with the city of Worcester, Clark University and the Boys & Girls Club. In 1999, Worcester received $161,500 in EPA Brownfields funding to do assessments on several sites within this project area.

The funding for this and other projects is a direct result of Brownfields legislation signed by President Bush last year. In addition to making more sites eligible for cleanup, including petroleum contaminated sites, the legislation greatly increased funding to assist nonprofit groups, municipalities, regional agencies and states in various tasks associated with restoring and revitalizing Brownfields properties, of which there are thousands across New England. The law authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for Brownfield grants, including up to $50 million for assessment and cleanup of low-risk petroleum contaminated sites.

Under the EPA's Brownfields Program, communities and other entities receive funding to assess contamination at abandoned and vacant sites and to estimate the costs of cleaning up sites for redevelopment. Organizations can also receive funding for cleanup grants and to establish revolving loan programs that provide low interest loans for cleanups.

Since 1995, EPA has provided more than $67 million of Brownfields assistance – for grants, site evaluations, job training and cleanup loan programs – to dozens of communities and agencies around New England, including more than $26 million to Massachusetts. The assistance has led to 630 site assessments, more than 100 cleanups and thousands of new jobs across the region.

Nationwide, Brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $4.6 billion in private investment, helped create more than 20,000 jobs and has resulted in the assessment of more than 4,000 properties. EPA estimates that every acre of reclaimed Brownfields saves 4.5 acres of greenspace and every greenspace created, on average, has doubled the value of surrounding properties.

For more information, visit the following EPA Web sites:

Brownfields: http://www.epa.gov/region1/brownfields

Smart Growth: http://www.epa.gov/region1/ra/sprawl