Chicopee receives Brownfield Grant for Uniroyal site

Chicopee continues to cash in on federal money

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A big payday for the city of Chicopee. The city is received a $600,000 Brownfield Grant.

Old industries that closed down, need costly environmental cleanup before anything can be done on those properties. That’s where Brownfield Grants come into play and Chicopee just cashed in again.

The old Uniroyal site in Chicopee is getting another $600,000 to help the city cleanup that property. The Environmental Protection Agency handed over a big check to Chicopee’s mayor. Chicopee received three of the 53 Brownfield grants given out in the entire country this year.

“When you have a clear vision of where you want to go from the planning perspective it’s really easy to make a good case as to why these grants are so important and why we need to get this work done,” said Lee Pouliot, Chicopee’s City Planner.

It’s not just Chicopee who has been successful in receiving these brownfield grants, New England as a region received close to 25 percent of all the federal dollars earmarked for cleaning up these brownfield sites.

“We are the industrialized northeast so the industrial revolution began here and that’s where the money is needed, but if you do not have the people who know how to work the system to get the grants and to make sure the partnerships and leveraging is in place you’re not going to get the money,” said Deb Szaro, U.S. EPA Acting Regional Administrator.

These brownfield grants are producing results. Back in 2013, the EPA awarded Chicopee money to cleanup some of the Uniroyal property and the old Facemate site. Part of that Facemate site will turn into an assisted living facility. It’s tough to get a developer to clean up a brownfield site, since it costs so much money, that’s where this grant money comes into play.

“Once it happens, people come looking and they realize there’s potential, here we are having had this site cleaned we’re getting a $23 million assisted living development that’s going to materialize in the next few years,” said Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos.

The EPA also awarded Belchertown’s Economic Development and Industrial Corporation $400,000 to continue to cleanup their old State School property.