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EPA Gives Boston $75,000 Brownfields Grant for Site Assessment in Dorchester

Release Date: 08/15/2000
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it will spend $75,000 to assess environmental conditions at 2.1 acres in Dorchester that will be used for a unique multi-generational housing project.

The Brownfields project will help pave the way for the City of Boston to create affordable housing in Dorchester's Franklin Fields area for low income seniors and young families adopting former foster children. The project will take place on eight parcels that once held light industrial and commercial businesses. The estimated cost of the site assessment is $75,000.

The project is one of 11 in New England that will receive a total of $825,000 for Brownfield site assessments. Since 1995, EPA has secured more than $18 million of federal funding to help more than 100 communities in Massachusetts clean and redevelop Brownfields sites.

"This site assessment in Dorchester is a first crucial step in helping the community clean up these contaminated sites so they can be reused for much needed housing," said Mindy S. Lubber, Regional Administrator for EPA New England, during a press conference this morning in Dorchester. "Revitalizing this set of parcels in Dorchester will bring a significant boost to an area of Boston that has not had the same experience of economic boon as downtown Boston."

"Once again, the Environmental Protection Agency demonstrates its commitment to Brownfields recovery," said Sen. John F. Kerry. "Site assessment is the essential first step in determining the nature of the problem and sets a course for future remediation. The communities of Lowell, Harwick, Dorchester and Northampton have been given a rare opportunity to address Brownfields head-on, and in time, return them to the community."

"These Environmental Protection Agency funds begin the city's clean-up of a contaminated site, but perhaps more importantly they lay the groundwork for new opportunities for affordable housing in Boston," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "Increasing affordable housing in Boston is a timely and important matter. This type of partnership among federal, state and local governments is key to resolving many o the difficult issues that face our nation's urban areas."

Boston Redevelopment Authority Director Mark Maloney agreed, stating, "The EPA's contribution to our work on reclaiming Brownfields is instrumental in improving the health and welfare of some of our lowest income communities."

Under the agency's Brownfields program, environmental consultants contracted by the EPA will perform assessments worth about $75,000 each. The assessments will determine the nature and extent of contamination, and estimate the costs of cleaning up the site for redevelopment.

Similar EPA site assessments have played a central role in revitalizing abandoned sites throughout New England. In Dudley Square in Roxbury, the Modern Electroplating site is being put back to use after a similar targeted Brownfields assessment. In Somerville, a site assessment played a vital role in the $14 million redevelopment of an abandoned industrial building that became home this year to an assisted living facility operated by the Visiting Nurses Association. The development created 45 new jobs in Somerville and filled a vital community need.

A brief description follows of each of the other three Massachusetts property chosen to receive a site assessment award:

Assets Building:
The National Park Service wants to turn this former power-generating building on Boots Mills canal into an interpretive museum and warehouse . The 1.1-acre site sits near the Lowell National Historic Park. Estimated cost of site assessment is $75,000.

Gilbertville Woven Label Property
The town anticipates a light industrial or commercial use for this five-acre site, a former textile manufacturing company that has been vacant since the mid 90s. Estimated cost of site assessment is $75,000.

Roundhouse Properties
The city hopes to rehabilitate this 2.3-acre former coal gasification facility for commercial and retail use. Estimated cost of site assessment is $75,000.