By Brent Addleman | The Center Square
Efforts aimed at cleaning up brownfields around Vermont have just received an infusion of more funding, Gov. Phil Scott said.
The governor announced that $2.83 million has been added to the $10 million already allocated for brownfield site remediation this year in the state.
“Economic revitalization has been a top priority of my administration since day one and cleaning up brownfields – sites that once helped support their communities but have become unusable – and turning them into opportunities once again is an important piece of that work,” Scott said in a release. “The Agencies of Commerce and Natural Resources have worked together to quickly deploy this important funding and I want to thank them and their regional partners for their efforts.”
To date, the largest cleanup is a $1.223 million investment at Edgar May Health and Recreational Center in Springfield, according to the release, and a total of $25 million is being committed to brownfield remediation efforts this fiscal year.
The complex, located in Windsor County, focuses on remediation and reuse of two buildings, the foundry and former J&L Plant. The site will offer expanded services including child care, group exercise, multi-purpose space, lifestyle medicine officers, indoor rock climbing and walking tracks, and a basketball court.
According to the release, the site has been eyed by the Department of Environmental Conservation since 2006 and funding was sought for contamination studies to address, clean up, and redevelop the space. The site was officially cleaned up after 16 years of work with funds from the Brownfield Revitalization Fund.
“We continue to be thrilled with the demand and the types of projects that are being proposed to utilize this funding to the fullest,” Department of Economic Development Commissioner Joan Goldstein said in the release. “These projects, often historically waiting for appropriate funding, will help grow and expand business, workforce, housing, and recreational opportunities for current and future residents in the state.”
Over the past five months, the fund has received $4.53 million of the department’s $10 million portion of funding to aid 14 projects in Chittenden, Washington, Windham, and Windsor counties encompassing 17 contaminated acres. There have been 490 jobs created in the process.
The remediation efforts, according to the release, have provided for 202 units of house and 80 new hotel rooms.
Other projects awarded funding this year include the Lineage Reality Group in Montpelier and Black River Crossin in Springfield. The projects focus on expanding residential and commercial developments in the industries of recreation, food and beverage, clean energy, and hospitality.
Funding was originally part of Act 74, according to the release, which allocated $11 million to the department, with $10 million being put in the brownfields fund.
The Legislature also allocated $14 million under the Act to aid the Brownfield Economic Revitalization Alliance for sites that are already enrolled in the program and are the most expensive and extensive clean-ups in the state.