Massachusetts County Receives $1 Million Brownfields Grant

Boston, MA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is awarding a $1 million grant to clean up and redevelop contaminated sites in Southern Vermont. The grant will be used by the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission (SWCRPC) to set up a revolving loan fund that will provide no interest or low interest loans to businesses to carry out cleanup activities at brownfields properties, sites that are unused because of fear of contamination. The Commission covers the towns of Andover, Baltimore, Cavendish, Chester, Ludlow, Reading, Springfield, Weathersfield, West Windsor, and Windsor. "It's going to be a big benefit for our downtown areas."

SWCRPC's goal is to leverage private and public funds to redevelop brownfield sites, create jobs, and revitalize neighborhoods. The target areas for these funds are downtowns or village centers that continue to be priority areas for growth, particularly in towns that have struggled since the decline in the machine tools industry.

Based on environmental assessments to date, three sites have been identified as candidates for initial loans.

The SWCRPC has already received a $350,000 EPA grant to assess brownfields sites.

Nationally, for every dollar of federal money spent on brownfields cleanup activities, cities and states produce or leverage $2.48 in private investment. To date, EPA's Brownfields Program has leveraged over $4 billion nationally in public and private investments in brownfields projects.

The SWCRPC and the City of Worcester, Massachusetts are the two recipients in New England selected for Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grants. EPA Administrator Whitman announced a total of $21.5 million to 21 recipients nationwide. To date, EPA has awarded 143 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grants to 39 states and the District of Columbia.