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  • 23 Jan 2019 4:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer

    “This scholarship gave the students even more incentive to work harder. All of them had a steep learning curve about brownfields at the start, but in the end, they learned a lot about how the world works.”

    This quotation represents a compelling case for the power of university-driven on-the-job training initiatives. How a classroom setting indeed accomplishes much but is nothing compared to the power of real-world experience. 

    The insight comes courtesy of Dr. Nefeli Bompoti when we spoke in early January about the team of four University of Connecticut students who became the second set of recipients of the Charlie Bartsch Memorial Brownfield Scholarship, established by BCONE to honor the legacy of Bartsch, the dynamic and well-loved brownfields industry advocate who passed in 2017. Charlie was an “iconic environmentalist who lived life to its fullest.”

    Ms. Bompoti, Ph.D., is the assistant research professor, CT Brownfields Initiative, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UCONN, who oversees the program along with fellow professor Marisa Chrysochoou, Ph.D., director, Connecticut Brownfields Initiative, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

    The four students—Connor Oakes, Chris Falk, Matthew McKenna and Caressa Wakeman—were awarded $500 each.  They were selected from seven UCONN teams within the CT Brownfields Initiative (CBI). UCONN students who participated hailed from the engineering, environmental, geology, real estate and consulting areas of study. 


    The three judges included Mark Lewis, brownfields coordinator at the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and BCONE’s Vice President,  Don Friday, project manager at the CT Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and Sarah Trombetta, senior project manager at TRC Companies.

    They selected the winning team, which was assigned to the town of Stafford, Conn. The CBI students worked on a semester-long assignment as part of the Brownfield Redevelopment course to prepare EPA assessment grant proposals for seven Connecticut municipalities and regional planning agencies. In addition to Stafford, towns included Clinton, Groton, Manchester and Plainfield, along with the Capitol Region and Southeastern Councils of Government. 

    The UCONN BCONE scholarship follows the first scholarship awarded in the Fall of 2019 to Rutgers University student Ethan Siegenthaler. With two scholarships awarded out by BCONE, the association is in the process of selecting a third,  yet-to-be-determined university in Pennsylvania to partner with this semester.   

    What’s unique about the UCONN commendation is that the CBI program—under the leadership of professors Bompoti and Chrysochoou—is fully committed to fostering brownfield careers for students. 

    “The winning team visited the town of Stafford five times during the semester, conducted phone work and captured many details about the community and the current state of brownfields by getting documents from town hall. Field work included Phase investigations 1,2 and 3. This led to them writing the assessment grant and giving a 15-minutes presentation in class about their efforts. They invested a lot of time on this.”

    The team identified five brownfield sites in Stafford, a town of about 12,000 residents. “One site was an old school with incidence of asbestos and lead paint, while two sites were textile mills. They were in close proximity to waterways,” says Bompoti. “All the groups did an excellent job, and it was hard for the judges to choose.” 

    Stafford is vying for a $300,000 Economic and Community Development grant to address hazardous substances and petroleum cleanup. The grant was to be submitted at the end of January and will be reviewed at the federal level. (Note: The Federal government shutdown, still ongoing as of presstime, could alter the way the grant proposal moves through channels.) 

    One of the towns that was part of the process, Plainfield, spoke highly of the work carried out by the UCONN students. “The students did the legwork, examining sites and going back through previous studies,” said Plainfield planning and zoning supervisor Mary Ann Chinatti. “If we didn’t use this program, we’d have to pay a third-party to do this work.”

    If any BCONE members are interested in seeing the students’ projects, please let sboyle@geiconsultants.com know; if enough folks ask, we’ll make the links available to BCONE members only on the website.

  • 15 Jan 2019 11:19 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Residents of New England's former mill towns often feel left behind after manufacturers leave town. But in Lawrence, Mass., locals have refused to let abandoned buildings and polluted landscapes define their future.

    By Story Hinckley, Christian Science Monitor

    When Lesly Melendez recalls her walk to school as a child in Lawrence, Mass., she remembers the six-foot-tall fence cloaked in black cloth and decorated with caution tape. “Keep Out” signs warned passersby away from the so-called Dresden of Lawrence, the burned bones of the former Russell Paper Mill. 

    “As a kid growing up and walking by things like that...,” Ms. Melendez trails off and sighs.

    But her childhood neighborhood looks more appealing today. After years of stop-and-start cleanup, the Russell Mill site is now Oxford Site Park, a green welcome mat for the city. It’s an open space with a bike path. Long grasses bend in the wind, free from any fence. 

    And this park may have helped the city grow opportunity as well as greenery. Lawrence, long one of New England’s poorest and most polluted communities, has become a center for public and nonprofit job training programs. They are certifying locals to clean up brownfields, properties where redevelopment is stalled because of potential pollution.

    For the entire article, see

    https://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2019/0111/Lawrence-reborn-A-polluted-mill-town-reclaims-its-future

  • 11 Jan 2019 10:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dunkirk Observer (NY)

    Construction of the new cold storage warehouse for Fieldbrook Foods has begun at 320 South Roberts Road, the former Edgewood Warehouse Brownfield Site in the city of Dunkirk with a target of being in operation this fall.

    Mark Geise, deputy county executive for economic development and chief executive officer of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency noted this is a “big win for the city of Dunkirk” and the county. “After years of blight, this project will result in the cleanup and repurposing of a large brownfield site, resulting in a beautiful, modern new facility that addresses our long-standing shortage of available local cold storage space.”

    The revitalization project includes acquisition, remediation, new construction and equipping of a new 80,000 square foot freezer warehouse. After decades as a contaminated eyesore in the City of Dunkirk, the dilapidated 167,400 square foot Edgewood warehouse on Roberts Road has now been demolished to make way for a brand new cold storage facility to serve Fieldbrook Foods, also located in Dunkirk. Property remediation and abatement is being performed as part of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Brownfield Cleanup Program. Site preparation is complete and concrete foundations are underway. The new facility will provide off-site storage for Fieldbrook Foods’ finished frozen dessert products.

    For the entire article, see

    http://www.observertoday.com/news/page-one/2019/01/construction-begins-on-freezer-facility-in-city/

  • 04 Jan 2019 2:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Brian Gioiele, Connecticut Post

    The focus of the city’s continued revitalization of Canal Street has now turned to the historic Star Pin Co. building, which was built in 1875 and has sat vacant for some 15 years.

    The state Department of Economic & Community Development, on Dec. 19, announced it has approved a $750,000 grant for the remediation of hazardous building materials from the building at 267 Canal Street, which the city foreclosed on months ago for back taxes.

    “This happens a lot in Connecticut,” said Mayor Mark Lauretti about the foreclosure, adding that the city foreclosed on the property because of about $600,000 owed in back taxes. “But you have to finally recognize that we’re never going to recover that, it’s abandoned. The best thing to do is cut your losses and get the property back on the tax rolls. We, as a city, have been pretty successful at doing that with several properties in downtown.”

    For the entire article, see

    https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Old-Star-Pin-factory-in-Shelton-to-get-cleanup-13503932.php

  • 02 Jan 2019 4:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Emma Wright, WFMZ TV-69 News (Allentown, PA)

    A dilapidated eyesore on Easton's Bushkill Drive may once again become an inspiration for art.

    Famed raw metal sculptor Karl Stirner used to visit the old Easton Iron and Metal Co. for material and now his namesake trail has plans to buy the property and once again turn trash into treasure.

    "For the last two years, we've been looking for one, a strategy to expand the trail and two, where would it be logical for it to make it work," said Dick McAteer.

    For the entire story, see

    http://www.wfmz.com/news/lehigh-valley/easton-junkyard-could-contribute-to-growing-arts-scene/952348824

  • 02 Jan 2019 4:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    New Haven Register (CT)

    The Science Park Development Corp. has been awarded a $200,000 state grant for the environmental assessment of the fomer Winchester Repeating Arms Co.

    David Silverstone, the chairman of the board of the corporation, said the plan is to bring in a developer to finish the rest of the proposed housing at the former arms manufacturer in Newhallville.

    Winchester Lofts, which was finished in 2015, is a $60 million conversion to 158 apartments that preserved much of the historic architecture for a large portion of the factory. The corporation had signed a deal with Forest City for the plan in 2008, just before the Great Recession delayed it for years.

    For the entire article, see

    https://www.nhregister.com/news/article/State-grant-may-equal-more-housing-in-Newhallville-13481345.php

  • 02 Jan 2019 4:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Greenwich Time (CT)

    The city has been awarded a $100,000 brownfield grant for cleanup of the former Hendey Machine Co./Stone Container Corp. property, the governor’s office said in a release.

    The property is located between 200 Litchfield St., 105 Summer St. and Turner Avenue, near the Torrington Commons Shopping Center, and the plan is to turn part of the site into a regional transit facility.

    In addition to the $100,000 state grant, the city was awarded $200,000 assessment grant to prepare for future revitalization. The money is to be used for a hazardous building material investigation and environmental assessment of the same property, officials said in the release.

    For the entire article, see

    https://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Torrington-gets-100-000-abatement-grant-for-13480898.php

  • 02 Jan 2019 4:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Jean Falbo-Sosnovich, New Haven Register (CT)

    Who knew a few years ago that a 109-year old former factory could be transformed into the thriving brewery and tap room that has since become the Valley’s Bad Sons Beer Co.

    The Connecticut Economic Resource Center certainly knows that the work to turn the contaminated Brownfield site at 251 Roosevelt Drive into the popular brewery was no small feat. And for that, CERC recently presented Bad Sons with a “Celebrate CT!” award for its success in repurposing a former industrial property.

    Bad Sons co-owner John Walsh recently accepted the award during CERC’s annual “Celebrate CT!” ceremony at Infinity Hall in Hartford. CERC President/CEO Robert Santy presented Walsh with the award. The ceremony, annually held since 2010, honors economic development successes throughout the state. Santy was not available for comment Wednesday.

    For the entire article, see

    https://www.nhregister.com/valley/article/Derby-Bbrewery-honored-for-turning-something-old-13478775.php

  • 19 Dec 2018 3:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Editorial, The Day (CT)

    There’s no doubt Stonington’s plan to transform a Mystic River brownfield into a public park and boathouse site is challenging and complex. While the town has secured public funds for parts of the plan, it must pass muster with a variety of state officials. Those working to make the park a reality must also satisfy a set of local regulations and public preferences about boathouse design, parking and public access.

    That means many interests, some which don’t easily mesh, have and will continue to weigh in on this project. Stonington officials say they understood these complexities before seeking residents’ approval in 2016 for $2.2 million in bonding to create the park. And because of those complexities the park may be developed in phases and progress might be slower than the public had expected.

    Those officials recognize they must be flexible in working out details. The master plan may change a little or, perhaps, a lot depending on future decisions by state and local agencies and commissions.

    For the entire editorial, see

    https://www.theday.com/editorials/20181214/confronting-challenges-for-mystic-boathouse-park

  • 17 Dec 2018 12:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Meg Dalton, Energy News Network

    A new state incentive offers money to developers that build solar projects on polluted properties instead of forests or farmland.

    A Rhode Island program promoting solar development on polluted properties could help relieve tensions between the state’s fast-growing solar industry and conservationists concerned with preserving green space.

    Solar has surged in Rhode Island in recent years on the heels of ambitious new renewable energy goals and state incentives for developers. Gov. Gina Raimondo announced a goal last year to reach 1,000 MW of clean energy and 20,000 clean energy jobs by 2020. 

    For the entire article, see

    https://energynews.us/2018/12/10/northeast/rhode-island-looks-to-spare-green-space-with-brownfield-solar-projects/

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