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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England

Levi Heywood Memorial Library - Gardner, MA
(April 2006)

Program: EPA Assessment Grant
Grantee: Montachusett Regional Planning Commission (contacts)
Summary: Vacant property was redeveloped as the new Gardner Public Library

Click to enlarge photo: Vacant Lot in Gardner

The Montachusett RPC was formed in 1968 as a regional advisory agency board, with representatives from each of 21 member communities. A 1998 grant of $200,000 to the MRPC was used to assess brownfields sites throughout the region. One of the 22 properties assessed was this site at 60 West Lynde Street in Gardner. This property was a focus of Gardner's Massachusetts Downtown Partnership Program, which hoped to redevelop the former furniture manufacturing site as the new Gardner Public Library.

Economic recession in the 1990's had left the city faced with a deteriorated downtown, numerous foreclosures, and increased relocation of businesses. The city focused on rebuilding the downtown, and redeveloping this site for a more appropriate use for this location. There was concern for contamination in and around the wood-frame and wood-clapboard building, and the building was demolished.

Click to enlarge photo: New Gardner Public Library

In 2001, the city began a reuse study for the property. Soil borings and groundwater well samples were analyzed, and it was found that there were elevated levels of trichloroethene (TCE), and vinyl chloride in the groundwater. Remedial actions were taken, included excavating and disposal of contaminated soil. In 2002, a final draft of the Phase II Plan and RAP was completed.

As a result of the assessment, local and state funds were leveraged to meet 80% of the needed $7.6 million package for the site cleanup and the construction of the parking lot and the new Gardner Public Library, completed in 2004.


  • 1900's to 1980's: The property housed the former Conant Ball furniture manufacturing.

  • 1990's: Economic recession in the city's downtown area.

  • 1995: A Canadian company bought the property in 1995 for a storage and distribution facility.

  • 1997: The building was demolished..

  • 1998: The city purchased the property. Phase I Assessment completed by Ploss Associates.

  • 1999: Environmental Sampling Technology was performed by ESA.

  • 2000: Tighe & Bond did additional site investigation.

  • 2001: Sample analyses showed contamination.

  • 2002: Phase II Assessment completed.

  • 2004: The Levi Heywood Memorial Library, 32,000 square feet large, was completed.

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