by TIM FAULKNER, ecoRI (RI)
Cleaning polluted land isn’t cheap, but thanks to a federal and state program funds are available to return some of these brownfield sites to commercial and residential use.
On Feb. 9, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) awarded $3.7 million to nine polluted sites for clean up and redevelopment. One of the sites will be home to a new facility for Farm Fresh RI, the nonprofit distributor of local food and farmers market manager headquartered in Pawtucket.
The lot at 498 Kinsley Ave., in the Valley neighborhood, is the remnant of a massive mill fire in 2015 that destroyed the building. The 3.3-acre site will now host the Rhode Island Food Hub, a mixed-use facility that will serve as a distribution center for local food and produce. It will offer food production facilities, nutrition education, job training, and retail markets. Farm Fresh will occupy half of a new 60,000-square-foot building. Other food-related businesses will rent the rest.
The Food Hub site is across the street from another brownfield success story, The Steel Yard, the industrial arts studio that received $2.1 million in brownfield funds in 2010 to remediate a 3.8-acre site. The Steep Yard hosted the announcement for the program's latest grant recipients.
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