Vermont To Spend $25M To Help Clean Up Industrial Sites

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. (AP) — Vermont is going to spend $25 million in state funds to help redevelop old industrial sites in the state.

Historically, the costs of cleaning up former industrial sites that may be contaminated from previous industrial or commercial activities, known as “brownfields,” have been funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Vermont officials traveled Thursday to Springfield where they highlighted that some of the state funds will be used to help redevelop the 270,000-square-foot (25,084-square-meter) former Jones & Lamson Machine Co. building that once employed 1,500 factory workers. Other sites that will be redeveloped with some of the money are in St. Albans and Burlington.

“It’s an understatement to say this is just another brownfield site," said Bob Flint, the executive director of the Springfield Regional Development Corp., which owns the 14-acre property. "This beats them all.”

The projects were announced by Gov. Phil Scott.

“This presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address longtime challenges and finally make good on the promise to increase economic equity from region to region and bring growth to all areas of the state, not just Chittenden County,” Scott said.

The Valley News reports that over the years nearly $2.5 million, including $1.2 million from the U.S. Environmental Agency has already been spent on assessments and preliminary cleaning of the site, which is contaminated with a host of toxic industrial chemicals.

The $3.7 million in state funding destined for Springfield will go to the Mount Ascutney Regional Commission, which is contracting with a Massachusetts company to demolish and clean up the site.

Two portions of the building will remain.

Flint said the long-term plan is to return the site to its commercial roots.

“It won’t be residential, and the use will be something that is job-producing and will have a positive economic impact,” Flint said. “It won’t be a warehouse with two people working there or minimum-wage jobs.”