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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England

Former Carew Street School Redevelopment

Success in Targeted Brownfields Assessment Program
Springfield, MA
(July 1, 2003)

Carew Street School
  Photo of Carew Street School

The city of Springfield received $200,000 from EPA New England for a Brownfields Assessment Pilot Grant Program in 1998. The city utilized $20,000 of that funding to conduct an environmental assessment at the Carew Street School site. In 2002, a private developer, Carew Street Development LLC, was chosen to redevelop the property into a Head Start day care facility. The redevelopment of the property should be completed by mid-July 2003.

The former Carew Street School was constructed in 1894 and consisted of a three story, 47,764-square foot masonry and wood constructed building that operated as a public elementary school until 1984. The school, located at 65 Carew Street (formerly 75) in Springfield’s North End, served approximately 400 students annually. A 1976 school renovation report described the school as severely deteriorated and in need of extensive renovations which were never completed. The city of Springfield demolished the building in 1999. In 2000, a Phase II Environmental Assessment was completed by Nobis Engineering Inc. Records indicated that in 1931 an electrical substation was constructed adjacent to the school on the northeast side which operated with the use of transformer oils containing PCBs. Given the close proximity to the school property, there was great concern that the electric company property would be contaminated by PCBs. However, the results of the environmental assessment showed that there was no contamination on the former school property. This new information added significant value to a property that was perceived as highly contaminated and allowed the city to utilize the property for redevelopment.

On October 11, 2002, Carew Street Development LLC was chosen as the preferred developer of the site for their proposed new Head Start day care facility. Together city officials and neighborhood residents participated in the selection of the developer and the final redevelopment proposal. Site plan review was completed by both the Springfield Planning Department and the New North Citizen’s Council. The new day care facility consists of a one-story, 9,000- square foot building that was built by the developer to suit the Head Start program. The city will realize tax revenues that it would have not received if the non-profit was the owner by selecting a private developer who will lease the space to a non-profit. According to the building permit, $1 million in private funds will be invested, and it is estimated that the property will generate in excess of $30,000 in annual new tax revenues for the city. Head Start expects that 24 new jobs will be created for this facility.

The estimated completion date for this project is July 15, 2003. The city of Springfield paid $54,750 for the building’s demolition. The remainder of the site’s preparation costs were paid by the developer. The redevelopment of this property is especially important to this community because of its potential to improve the appearance of the community, add jobs, and increase the tax base for the city.

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