BELLOWS FALLS -- The local historical society has received a six-figure grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to help complete the Bellows Falls Historic Riverfront Park and Trail System.
The $200,000 grant is the second of its kind the Bellows Falls Historical Society has gotten and its funding will go toward the second phase of the environmental cleanup and restoration project. It is part of nearly $1.5 million in EPA brownfields grants the federal agency is dispensing to five entities. They are a combination of assessment, cleanup and revolving loan fund grants.
Alan Peterson, a brownfields project officer with the EPA, said the historical society plans to use the money to remediate, or address the contamination issues of a 2.6-acre parcel of land on the west side of Mill Street. He said the historical society received a similar grant in 2010 to take care of the street's east side.
The EPA says the objective of the brownfields grants is to lead to the clean and sustainable redevelopment of brownfields sites and improve the economy and quality of life in American communities. The funding is part of more than $17 million in EPA brownfields investments across New England announced by EPA in 2012.
Joe Ferrari, the grant project manager for Bellows Falls, said the historical society will work on the portion of land next to the railroad tracks. He said the section of contamination can be "capped," or covered with
"People like to use roses because they look nice," he said.
Ferrari said effort is usually made to stick to native plantings.
The Rutland Regional Planning Commission, the Springfield Regional Development Corporation, the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development are the other grant recipients.
The Rutland RPC's $200,000 assessment grant will assist cities and towns throughout southwestern Vermont. Rutland RPC has been a brownfields grantee since 2003, and with today's award, they will have received $1.6 million in Brownfields funding, according to the EPA. The Springfield RPC plans to use $200,000 cleanup grant to remediate environmental contamination at the former site of a manufacturer company. The funding is being combined with two additional cleanup subgrants funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The SWCRPC and the VACCD will receive supplemental funding for their revolving loan fund programs. The SWCRPC will get $400,000, bringing its Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grant to nearly $1.8 million. The additional funding will reportedly continue to go toward cleanup and redevelopment projects in their region, including sites such as the former Perkinsville School in Weathersfield. The VACCD's $450,000 will its fund to more than $2.4 million.
The money will go specifically to cleanup and redevelopment projects throughout the state, including sites such as the Prospect Street Redevelopment project in White River Junction.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.