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EPA Gives Montpelier $75,000 in Brownfields Grants for Site Assessment

Release Date: 02/15/2001
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England Office announced today it will invest $450,000 to assess environmental conditions at abandoned, contaminated sites in six New England communities, including one in Montpelier, Vt.

The targeted site assessment in Montpelier will pay to evaluate contamination at a 1.3-acre former scrap metal storage facility that is currently used for parking. The city hopes to develop the lot, which is on the Winooski River, for a riverfront park and trail system. The city plans to purchase the privately owned lot, after the environmental liability is known.

"This site assessment will play an important role in Montpelier's efforts to clean up this Brownfields property so it can be put back to reuse," said Ira Leighton, acting regional administrator at EPA's New England office.

"I am hopeful that this grant will lead to more green space in downtown Montpelier," U.S. Sen. James M. Jeffords said. "As a longtime supporter of Brownfields, I am very pleased to see that Montpelier and other Vermont towns are making use of this worthy program."

"I am very pleased that EPA has approved the Montpelier brownfields assessment funding," said U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy. "This work will help the city further its exciting Winooski riverfront revitalization."

"The EPA's Brownfields Program is a tremendous help to communities that lack the resources to evaluate and restore valuable but contaminated land," said U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders. "These sites can be used far more profitably, and Montpelier's redevelopment of this property will strengthen the community by eliminating environmental hazards and creating a park that everyone can enjoy. Initiatives like this stimulate local economies, provide jobs, and support active and vital downtowns."

Under the agency's Brownfields Program, environmental consultants contracted by EPA will perform the assessments – costing about $75,000 each – to determine the nature and extent of contamination on the properties, and to estimate the costs of cleaning up the site for redevelopment. The assessments are scheduled to begin in April and take about eight to 10 months.

EPA New England's Brownfields Program has invested $3 million in assessing brownfield sites throughout New England, including $75,000 in Vermont, since February 1999. This money has helped communities restore and develop contaminated urban properties across New England, leading to the creation of thousands of jobs and generating millions of dollars in income and tax revenue. This brings to $983,000 the amount EPA has invested to date in brownfields projects in Vermont.

Similar Brownfields site assessment awards have been central to redeveloping abandoned sites throughout New England. In Somerville, a site assessment helped achieve 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. EPA funding for a site assessment of the former Post Office Square in Lowell was essential for the clean-up and redevelopment of this property, which is the new home of the 6,000-seat Paul E. Tsongas Sports Arena.

Other assessment grants were announced today to Worcester, Lawrence and Fall River, Mass.; Lewiston, Maine, and Hartford, Conn.