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July 10, 2023

Saint-Gobain redevelopment receives $2M EPA cleanup funding

Photo | Grant Welker Saint-Gobain's Worcester facility

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $2 million to the Worcester Business Development Corp.’s nonprofit arm, New Garden Park, for environmental cleanup at a site formerly owned by manufacturer Saint-Gobain slated for redevelopment, part of nearly $6 million awarded for clean-up throughout Central Massachusetts.

The funding is part of the EPA’s Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant Program.

The Saint-Gobain redevelopment is part of the City of Worcester’s Greendale Revitalization Initiative. As part of that larger plan, the WBDC will demolish 10 underused buildings, ownership of which were transferred to WBDC by Saint-Gobain as part of a 51-acres land deal executed in November.

The EPA money comes on top of the Massachusetts Community One Stop for Growth program giving the City of Worcester and WBDC $1.75 million in October toward the redevelopment of the site. 

The project is expected to create 1 million square feet of manufacturing space and 1,000 new jobs.

In addition to the Saint-Gobain cleanup money, the City of Worcester was given $2.7 million from the EPA’s Revolving Loan Fund grant program to offer loans or grants to clean up or redevelop brownfield sites, according to a Friday press release from the EPA. The City has received more than $5 million from the RLF program in prior years.

Potential uses for this funding include the Greendale revitalization project and redevelopment of the Denholm Building, a former department store- turned office building on Main Street in downtown Worcester, according to the press release.

"For too long, Massachusetts cities and towns were forced to spend years cobbling together local, state and federal funds to handle environmental remediation projects, causing delays that put people's lives at-risk," said Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Worcester). "Now, thanks to President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, cities like Worcester will receive almost $5 million to address toxic industrial pollution and make way for new manufacturing facilities and significant economic expansion and job growth."

Other Central Massachusetts recipients of this round of funding include the Montachusett Regional Planning Commission in Leominster, which received a $500,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant to conduct assessments and planning for the redevelopment of brownfields sites potentially in Athol, Lancaster, and Templeton. Priority sites include an 18-acre former rod and gun club, an 80-acre former correctional institution, and a 20-acre vacant manufacturing site, according to EPA.

The Town of Franklin received a $500,000 Brownfields Cleanup Grant to clean up the Nu-Style jewelry factory at 21 Grove St., which is vacant and contaminated with metals and chlorinated solvents, according to the EPA.

The funding was part of $13.7 million given to Massachusetts municipalities and organizations statewide by the EPA.

A brownfield is a property which is or may be contaminated by previous use. These sites are often former factories where chemicals have seeped into the earth, making redevelopment expensive. Notable brownfield redevelopments in Worcester are the Polar Park baseball stadium and Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Gateway Park.

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Robert Anderson
July 10, 2023

Get ready for yet another massive cleanup bill, brought to you by the same people that brought you the bailout of Eversource on the WRTA project. When will this city stop paying for the environmental clean ups of ultra profitable private corporations who willfully pollute. This, as the WRTA site should NEVER have changed hands until the site was cleaned at the cost of the polluter. Nice to see the congressman gloating that he put the costs directly on the back of the taxpayers once again.

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