EPA awards grants for brownfields cleanup in Maine and Massachusetts cities

The U.S. Environmental Agency announced recently that Lawrence and New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine, are among 20 communities in 16 states to receive a grant of up to $200,000 from for Brownfields Area-Wide Planning (AWP) projects.

The funding will help the communities cleanup and reuse brownfields sites to revitalize communities and strengthen local economies. The area-wide planning approach will help the communities work on brownfields development in conjunction with community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, employment, education and health facilities, social services, transportation options, infrastructure and commerce needs.

"EPA's Brownfields funding provides communities with a necessary resource to help assess, clean up and redevelop contaminated properties, boosting local economies and leveraging jobs, all while protecting public health and the environment," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office.

AWP empowers local leaders to conduct a community-wide, systematic project that identifies uses of brownfields sites that could improve areas and foster public-private redevelopment. The planning is inclusive and locally driven, and fosters livable communities through jobs, recreation, housing, and an increased tax base.

Lawrence, Mass. will work with the community and other stakeholders to develop an implementation strategy to revitalize the Manchester Lawrence Rail Road (MLRR) corridor, while New Bedford will use their AWP funding to develop the Payne Cutlery neighborhood, a 148-acre area along a 0.7-mile length of the planned SouthCoast Rail Corridor. The Greater Portland Council of Governments in partnership with Portland, Maine, will work to revitalize the East Bayside neighborhood of the city.

The grants are part of the "Partnership for Sustainable Communities," an interagency union between EPA, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.