Brattleboro Museum & Art Center receives EPA grant of $200,000

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Brattleboro Museum & Art Center receives EPA grant of $200,000

Sun, 06/04/2017 - 10:07am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) to clean up and begin redeveloping the neglected property at 11 Arch Street in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont. The grant is one of 279 FY17 Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup grants awarded by the EPA to 172 communities throughout the United States. The Bellows Falls Area Development Corporation and the Bennington County Regional Commission were also Vermont recipients. 

"We were thrilled to get the news," said BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld. "When BMAC acquired 11 Arch Street from Green Mountain Power in December 2015, we knew we would have to clean up some environmental contamination before we could begin the process of returning the historic property to productive use. This grant will enable us to do that."

According to Lichtenfeld, the property at 11 Arch Street, which is located alongside the Whetstone Brook and includes a boarded-up brick building constructed in the late 19th century, was formerly used as an electric power generating station and substation, machine shop, and grist mill. Those uses resulted in the presence of such contaminants as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and PCBs in the property's soil, groundwater, and building materials. The EPA grant will enable BMAC to remove or permanently restrict access to those contaminants. Lichtenfeld said cleanup activities will begin in September or October and will take approximately six weeks.

As to BMAC's future plans for the property, Lichtenfeld said that he expects to be able to share specifics by the end of the summer. "We are considering several exciting possibilities, each of which will allow BMAC to better serve our community and contribute even more to the cultural and economic vitality of Brattleboro and the surrounding region."

"I want to thank the members of Vermont's Congressional delegation for their tireless efforts to maintain the viability of the EPA and its important grant programs, which contribute to the health, safety, and well-being of all Americans," said Lichtenfeld. "I'd also like to thank Susan McMahon of Windham Regional Commission and Alan Liptak and Angela Emerson of LE Environmental in Waterbury, Vermont, for their help in developing the cleanup plans that served as the basis of our grant application."

Founded in 1972, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. The museum's galleries and gift shop are open every day except Tuesday, 11-5. Regular admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for students. Members and children 18 and under are admitted free of charge. Located in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit www.brattleboromuseum.org.

Major support for BMAC is provided by its members, the Vermont Arts Council, Allen Brothers Oil, C&S Wholesale Grocers, David Walter Goldsmith & Platinumsmith, the Four Columns Inn, People's United Bank, Sam's Outdoor Outfitters, and Whetstone Station Restaurant & Brewery.

Bellows Falls Area Development Corporation (BFADC) has been awarded $200,000 to clean up the former Robertson Paper Mill site in Bellows Falls.  This site also has a long industrial history, having also been used as a foundry and machine shop.  With the help of these federal funds the structures on the site will be demolished and the property restored in order to allow it to be marketed for a new use.  Emmett S. Dunbar, Development Director for the Town of Rockingham said: “The BFADC is very excited about the $200,000 EPA Brownfield Grant being awarded to clean up the Robertson Paper Mill in Rockingham.  This is essential to the environmental and economic sustainability of our Designated Historic Downtown district.  Once completed this remediation and reuse project will create a fresh palate for thoughtful mixed-use development in the existing industrially zoned area within the village.  Many dedicated people in the town have worked for over a decade to revitalize this site in our community, and BFADC thanks all of you.”  Proceeds from the redevelopment will help BFADC to capitalize its revolving loan fund to support future projects.

The Bennington County Regional Commission has been awarded two brownfields assessment grants totaling $300,000.  The funds will be used to complete environmental site assessments and prepare cleanup plans for Bennington’s state designated Growth Center, and to support community outreach.

Source: BMAC. 6.2.2017 (complete EPA list here).