Federal Grant Will Help Clean Up Polluted Sites in Chicopee
More than a century ago, Chicopee was known for the manufacturing companies in the city. Congressman Richard Neal, who serves as the Chair of the House and Means Committee, said with that, they have to consider what to do with the legacy issues.
"There are a lot of legacy issues as it relates to old manufacturing sites in New England," said Neal. "Let's face it, everything in New England is old."
The city of Chicopee needs help cleaning up these sites. Neal announced the city is getting $300,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Chicopee is one of six in the state of Massachusetts to receive the funding. The money goes towards assessing and cleaning properties known as brownfields. That term is used to describe any land that was previously used for industrial or commercial purposes that is known for, or suspected to have, pollution to the soil due to hazardous waste.
"This is an old industrial area that has a lot of potential and this will allow us to spark some redevelopment down here and identify any potential contaminants that may exist," said Chicopee Mayor John Vieau.
According to mass.gov, there are more than 30 brownfields in Chicopee. The funding from EPA will allow the city to look for contaminants in the ground, find out where they are located and how they can be restored.
"If you are interested in selling your property or redeveloping your property, ideally this will help compensate the pay for those assessments that would be necessary for a transfer of real estate or development real estate," said Vieau.
Both Vieau and Neal say the EPA grant will also create jobs and ensure cleanup and redevelopment of city neighborhoods like Willimansett.
"The EPA only started in 1968 and has already had a remarkable success story. The water we drink, the air we breathe, the land that we live on, has much improved because of what the Environmental Protection Agency has done, so I think this is another example of visionary opportunity for the city of Chicopee," said Neal.
The other cities/towns who have received the grant in Massachusetts include Lowell, Great Barrington, Lawrence, New Bedford, and Peabody.