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Chicopee’s $300,000 federal brownfield grant will include focus on Willimansett sites

August 12, 2020
In The News

CHICOPEE — Local officials on Wednesday announced plans to use a recent $300,000 federal grant to expand assessment of contaminated properties to include key brownfield sites in Willimansett.

Mayor John Vieau and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, were among officials gathered to discuss the grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The details were presented at the central maintenance garage on Meadows Street, and in a news release from Neal’s office.

Priority sites will include the undeveloped portion of the former Spalding sports equipment manufacturing facility on Meadow Street and properties along the North Chicopee Street Corridor, both in Willimansett, officials said.

The expansion to Willimansett “will provide needed resources to address the environmental legacy of this third Industrial Village within the City,” Vieau said in a statement.

“Further, the Assessment Grant will ensure future cleanup and redevelopment of the neighborhood brownfields to benefit the residents and visitors to Willimansett,” Vieau said.

Chicopee was among six communities in the state to receive the assessment and cleanup grants this year, first announced in May. Other grant recipients in Massachusetts were Great Barrington, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford and Peabody, with grants totaling $2.7 million.

The assessments in Chicopee will focus on historic industrial areas in Chicopee Center, Chicopee Falls and Willimansett, officials said.

Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the funding from the EPA will be imperative as Chicopee “continues to revitalize its former industrial sites across the city.”

“These properties across the city of Chicopee hold a tremendous amount of potential for economic development,” Neal said. “I have long been a supporter of projects of this kind and I commend the mayor and his staff for their dedication to this issue.”

The grant will be used to conduct environmental site assessments, develop cleanup plans, and support reuse planning and community outreach activities for various sites, officials said.

A brownfield is defined as property in which “its expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant,” according to the EPA.