For Immediate Release
May 29, 2012
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the City of Boston $400,000 in Brownfields grants for the cleanup of two former industrial sites on Columbus Avenue in Roxbury. The grants, awarded through a competitive national selection process, represent two of eighteen grants that the EPA awarded to Massachusetts communities and regional councils to clean contaminated areas.
“These generous grants from the EPA means that we can not only ensure the public safety of these sites in our neighborhoods, but we can also begin to revitalize these parcels to create housing, commercial space, and a community center in Jackson Square,” said Mayor Menino. “I want to thank the EPA for these grants to help us to evaluate the properties, clean up the problems, and begin moving forward with the process of restoring them to a useful state.”
The hazardous substance grants will be used to clean up two sites -- 1540 and 1542R Columbus Avenue -- in the Jackson Square neighborhood. The Columbus Avenue sites were home to various industrial businesses including an automobile dealership, a trucking facility, and a parking garage, and the grants will be used to remediate metals and petroleum stemming from these historical uses.
The two parcels of City owned land will be conveyed to Urban Edge to develop an affordable mixed-use development called Jackson Commons. This development will create 37 units of housing, 29 of which will be affordable. There will also be community oriented commercial space on the ground floor. It is anticipated that remediation of the contaminated land and building construction will begin in the spring of 2013.
Mayor Menino thanked Senator John Kerry and the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation for their continued support and leadership in helping the City of Boston receive this important funding.
The community center included in this development will provide year-round affordable activities for youth and families. Specifically, the project includes a regulation sized ice rink that can be covered to act as a TURF field during summer hours, as well as four locker rooms, concessions, an arcade, and administrative office space.
EPA's Brownfields Program provides direct funding for assessment, cleanup, revolving loans, and environmental job training across the country. These particular funds will facilitate the leveraging of public resources from the City of Boston to develop Jackson Commons. The EPA estimates that every acre of reclaimed Brownfields saves 4.5 acres of green space. In turn, that reclaimed green space has, on average, doubled the value of surrounding properties