June 12, 2012 | last updated June 12, 2012 11:32 am

EPA Helps Fund Worcester Site Cleanup

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is helping nonprofit developer Worcester Business Development Corp. (WBDC) clean up the Worcester Telegram & Gazette building it owns with a $200,000 grant.

On Monday, the EPA awarded the brownfields cleanup funds to New Garden Park, a subsidiary of the WBDC, for environmental assessment and cleanup of the downtown site at 20 Franklin St, which WBDC reportedly purchased last November.

The EPA also gave with city $300,000 to add to its Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund.

The funding is part of $6.75 million spread among 33 brownfields grants the EPA is giving to Massachusetts communities to help assess, clean up and redevelop abandoned or contaminated properties.

"Redeveloping the Telegram and Gazette property is a key element in the ongoing rebirth of downtown Worcester," U.S. Rep James McGovern said in a statement. "These federal funds will allow us to reclaim contaminated land, and transform the site into an economic opportunity for private investment."

City Manager Michael V. O'Brien expressed his appreciation for the money, saying, "The key to our success will be continued coordination toward achieving a shared vision for our downtown. This private/public partnership will bring the expertise and the resources to the table to generate active, private-sector interest that will add to the vitality of the entire Central Business District and surrounding neighborhoods."

Published reports on the WBDC's website indicate the organization purchased the Telegram & Gazette building from the newspaper's parent company, the New York Times Co., for a reported $300,000 with the intent of using part of it for higher education and another part for business. It reportedly purchased the four-building site to join redevelopment efforts in the Theater District. According to the Telegram & Gazette, its operations in the building will be moving to leased space in the city in the coming weeks.

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