BOSTON — Nine Maine organizations will receive $4.3 million in federal Environmental Protection Agency funding to help assess potentially toxic properties, clean up brownfields and redevelop formerly unusable lands. According to the EPA, the funds are a combination of assessment, cleanup and revolving loan fund grants.
“This is important federal funding that will help communities clean up contaminated sites so they can be redeveloped,” U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree said in a media release. “Without this funding, many of these pieces of property would go unused and remain a burden to the community.”
Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA New England’s office, said, “Cleaning and revitalizing contaminated sites helps create jobs, and can help a community to create new businesses and neighborhood centers, while making our environment cleaner and the community healthier.”
The funding is part of more than $17 million in EPA Brownfields investments across the six New England states announced by EPA in 2012.
Award recipients in Maine, according to the EPA release, are:
• Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society, a first-time grantee, will be receiving $200,000 to remediate a property known as Central Hall. The property is located within the downtown business district of Dover-Foxcroft. It will be redeveloped into a new community center, adult day services and senior center.
• Northern Maine Development Commission will be receiving $400,000 in assessment funds to provide critical funding for Aroostook County as they move forward with a federal Housing and Urban Development Sustainable Community Planning grant. This organization has had previous assessment grants and has a current revolving loan fund grant.
• Old Town, a first-time grantee, will be receiving three cleanup grants valued at $600,000 to remediate three parcels associated with the Old Town Canoe Factory site. It is the most visible site with the most redevelopment potential in the downtown area.
• The Piscataquis County Economic Development Council is being awarded $800,000 in funds to capitalize a revolving loan fund. The EDC, which is based in Dover-Foxcroft, serves 17 towns in central Maine. In the past, the council has been awarded an assessment grant.
• Rockland, a first-time grantee, is being awarded $400,000 in assessment funds to inventory and assess brownfield sites. The community’s focus will be on the downtown waterfront area which has a long and varied history of marine industrial use.
• Sanford is being awarded a total of $800,000. This total includes $400,000 in assessment funds to help the town implement its EPA-funded areawide plan for brownfields in the Millyard District. The other $400,000 will fund cleanups of two properties in town. The Millyard Road property is located in the heart of the Millyard District, and its revitalization will promote open space access, transportation choice and redevelopment of the Millyard. Cleanup of the CGA site will address contaminated soils, hazardous building materials and other hazards to allow the site to be redeveloped for commercial and industrial reuse.
• Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission is being awarded $500,000 to expand its highly successful Revolving Loan Fund program. SMRPC, located in Springvale, has a proven track record of working with municipalities, nonprofits and private developers to clean up and revitalize brownfields throughout its service area in York and Oxford Counties.
• Washington County Council of Governments is receiving an assessment grant valued at $400,000. The council received a previous assessment grant in 2009 and the new award will allow it to continue to assess sites in Calais, Eastport and Machias as well as perform remediation planning.
• Wilton, a first-time grantee, will receive $200,000 in clean-up funding to remediate the former Wilton Tanning Company property. It is anticipated that the building will be used for commercial activities after the remediation.
For information on EPA’s Brownfields program in New England, visit http://epa.gov/region1/brownfields/index.html.