Governor Phil Scott recently attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the former site of the Robertson Paper Mill. This ceremony marked the completion of an environmental clean-up effort between local, state, federal and private partners through the state Brownfield Economic Revitalization Alliance (BERA).
The $1.2 million remediation addressed lead, arsenic, asbestos, petroleum and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) at the site. The Bellows Falls Area Development Corporation (BFADC) acquired the property in 2013, identifying it as a site pivotal to redevelopment of the village.
“BFADC has a vision for the future of this property and I appreciate their work to lead this clean-up effort,” said Governor Scott. “Transforming this site from an unusable property to one that is ready to lead the redevelopment of this area is what our BERA program is all about. We must all come to the table and work together in order to meet our economic development goals. This project is a great example of what’s possible when we all pull in the same direction.”
“BFADC is pleased that the Village of Bellows Falls now has a site that is ready for construction and can be built to suit for qualified companies looking to expand or relocate,” said BFADC President Robin Renzoni-Sweetapple. “We are thankful to the BERA program for rallying state and federal resources to take on this complicated and expensive project.”
The project was funded through the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s Brownfield and Community Development Block Grant programs, as well as the Windham County Economic Development program, the Windham Regional Commission’s Brownfields Assessment and Revolving Loan Fund, loans through the Town of Rockingham’s Revolving Loan Fund and a grant for environmental assessment from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. Additional funds came from the federal EPA Brownfields program.
“We are very proud that EPA Brownfields funding has played a role in transforming Bellows Falls,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Diezel. “In communities across Vermont and all of New England, EPA Brownfields funding is a powerful catalyst for environmental assessment and cleanup at abandoned and lightly contaminated properties, allowing them to be redeveloped to benefit the community and its residents.”
This is the second pilot BERA-designated project to cross the remediation finish line, with the completion of the Richmond Creamery project earlier this year. BERA is an initiative to streamline remediation and redevelopment of contaminated properties. Governor Scott recently signed Executive Order No. 08-19 to formally establish BERA as a state program.
Click here for a full list of BERA projects and to learn more about the alliance.