New federal funding has been announced for the largest brownfields mill redevelopment project in New England. The region’s top federal environmental official says the project in Ludlow Massachusetts serves as example for reusing the scores of other abandoned industrial sites that dot the landscape.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $500,000 to the Ludlow Mills redevelopment project. The director of the New England region of the EPA, Curt Spalding said $400, 000 will pay for asbestos removal at two former warehouse buildings and $100,000 will be used to assess future cleanup needs at the sprawling former mill complex.
Spalding announced the funding at a gathering of business and community leaders at the former mill property. He called it “ good money following good money” Officials say approximately $6 million in federal and state funds have been put toward the redevelopment effort so far.
A $28 million rehabilitation hospital is being built on the site. The job is employing 120 construction workers. Work is expected to start next year on a $24 million , 83 unit senior housing complex.
Spalding said the New England region of the EPA received $12 million for brownfields cleanup projects this year putting the region ahead of others in the country, but that still falls short of what is needed.
Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal said no private economic development would occur at places like Ludlow Mills without the federal government paying to rid the property of pollution.
The Ludlow Mills redevelopment is being spearheaded by the Westmass Area Development Corporation, a private non-profit economic development group. Ken Delude, the corporation’s president and CEO said they are just 21 months into what is likely to be at least a 20- year redevelopment project.
The master plan calls for a mix of commercial, industrial and some residential uses for the former mill which consists of about 60 buildings set on 170 acres along the Chicopee River.
Carmina Fernandes, a member of the Ludlow Board of Selectmen, said town officials are very excited about the economic development prospects.
Estimates are the redevelopment of the former mill could create or retain 2000 jobs and stimulate up to $300 million in private investment.