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EPA Gives New Bedford $400,000 as Brownfields Showcase Community

Release Date: 10/11/2000
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Public Affairs Office, (617) 918-1042

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the City of New Bedford is one of two communities in New England that has been chosen as a Brownfields Showcase Communities. As a showcase community, the city will receive $400,000 in technical and financial support to help in its efforts to address the future of abandoned, contaminated properties and return them to viable community use.

The showcase award includes $200,000 in grant funds and $200,000 to pay for a full time employee, who will work on brownfields redevelopment in the city of New Bedford. A total of 12 communities nationwide will receive this award.

"As a showcase community, New Bedford will be able to draw on the collective knowledge and resources of more than a dozen government agencies, all dedicated to the revitalization of the city's industrial corridor," said Mindy S. Lubber, Regional Administrator of EPA New England. "Putting these buildings back into use will create jobs, boost the city's effort to bring the downtown back to life and eliminate an environmental hazard in the center of the city."

"The City of New Bedford has been rewarded for a tremendous commitment to revitalizing its waterfront," said Sen. John F. Kerry. "It is a testament to the hard work of all of New Bedford's officials, especially Mayor Fred Kalisz, that the city received this honor. I look forward to watching New Bedford build onto its already impressive environmental and economic portfolio, thanks to this announcement."

New Bedford, once a center of New England's Industrial Revolution, is now home to numerous vacant buildings where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived contamination. Since the 70s, New Bedford's traditional economic bases of fishing and clothing manufacturing have been hard hit by international competition. New Bedford has received a total of $1.1 million in brownfields funding from EPA New England. The city will use the Showcase Communities award to assess the contamination at many of the more than more than 30 brownfields sites identified by the city's two-year-old brownfields program and to carry out plans for redeveloping these sites as part of the city's master plans.

The city's brownfields program, which is targeted at encouraging the private sector to take the lead in economic development, has already obtained an $800,000 grant to demolish and clean up the Talleyrand site and entice Aerovax Industries to build a $9 million facility, creating 400 new jobs. The program has also coordinated an effort to identify other brownfields sites and redeveloped the former Standard Times field into a 10-lot subdivision.

The other New England showcase community award was given to the Mystic Valley Development Commission, representing Malden, Medford and Everett. A total of 12 new showcase community grants across the nation worth a total of $2.4 million were announced this week. This brings to 28 the total number of Brownfields Showcase Communities nationwide.

EPA has awarded a total of $38.1 million in brownfields grants to towns and cities in New England and $18.4 million to communities in Massachusetts since its Brownfields Initiative began in 1995.