Baker-Polito Administration Announces Over $2.6 Million in Brownfields Funding for 16 Projects

On January 23, Governor Charlie Baker, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, and MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss joined City of Boston Chief of Housing and Neighborhood Development Sheila Dillon, Brownfields Advisory Group Chair and President and CEO of MACDC Joe Kriesberg, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) Executive Director Richard Thal, and state and local officials to an-nounce over $2.6 million in Brownfields Redevelopment Fund awards to support the environ-mental assessment and cleanup of 16 contaminated and challenging sites across the Com-monwealth.

Once complete, the 16 projects are projected to redevelop 44.3 acres, create or preserve 682 housing units, and provide 1,625 full-time, part-time, and construction jobs. MassDevel-opment oversees the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, which helps to transform vacant, abandoned, or underused industrial or commercial properties by financing the environmental assessment and remediation of brownfield sites in “Economically Distressed Areas” of the Commonwealth. Since the Fund’s inception in 1998, it has supported 743 awards for a total investment of more than $107 million.

“The Brownfields Redevelopment Fund breathes life into vacant or underused properties where redevelopment may be complicated by environmental contamination,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Today’s awards will provide communities with the resources they need to transform some of the state’s most challenging sites, clearing the way for much-need new housing units and opening the door for new jobs across the Commonwealth.”

“Along with other state resources like MassWorks and the Site Readiness Program, the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund helps municipalities unlock key sites and set the stage for economic development to occur,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are proud to help cities, towns and other local economic development partners overcome barriers to growth, and to bring projects to completion.”

“Both an environmental and economic development tool, the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund provides early-stage financing for site assessments and cleanup activities that drive de-velopment forward,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “Here in Boston and across the state, this program is building vibrancy by revitalizing complex sites into critical housing units, office space, industrial uses, and more.”

“In the 20-plus years since its creation, the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund has been a proven resource for converting challenging properties into assets for a community,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “MassDevelopment is proud to adminis-ter the Fund on behalf of the Commonwealth, and we thank the Baker-Polito Administration and the Legislature for their continued support.”

Today’s awards announcement took place at the Hattie Kelton Apartments, a 47-unit afforda-ble housing facility in Jamaica Plain. JPNDC received a $36,000 award from the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund in 2015 to conduct an environmental site assessment of this site. The organization is receiving funds this year as a member of Jackson Square Partnership LLC to remediate properties at 25 Amory Street and 250 Centre Street, which will host two housing developments creating 154 mixed-income housing units, 88 of which will be affordable.

“I want to thank the Administration for this funding, which will enable the City of Boston to move forward with the much needed revitalization at these six project sites,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Through this partnership on brownfield remediation, we’re excited that we’ll be able to move forward with the creation and preservation of hundreds of units of affordable housing. I look forward to our continued work ahead to transform these blighted properties into homes for our residents.”

“The Commonwealth’s Brownfields Redevelopment Fund is a key tool in righting environmental justice wrongs and in helping community development projects cross the finish line,” said Representative Liz Malia. “So many formerly blighted parcels in my district would be bad neigh-bors to this day, if not for the Brownfields Fund’s invaluable technical assistance and grants. I thank the Administration and MassDevelopment for continuing to prioritize the fund and to put it to good use statewide.”

“I’m honored to represent a district that is constantly coming together to make beautiful change that has enduring impact,” said Representative Nika Elugardo. “Thank you Baker-Polito Administration and team for helping Jamaica Plain and communities across Boston take this critical next step in neighborhood transformation.”

“We can’t overstate the importance of Brownfields funding to Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation’s ability to create affordable housing,” said Jamaica Plain Neighbor-hood Development Corporation Executive Director Richard Thal. “As is the case with many past projects, the homes we’re about to break ground on in Jackson Square would not hap-pen without it.”

“We are thrilled to see these investments in community driven projects across the Common-wealth,” said Joseph Kriesberg, President of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations and Chair of the Brownfields Advisory Group. “The Brownfields Redevelopment Fund provides critical early stage capital to clean up our neighborhoods and unlock their true economic potential.  Community development corporations would be unable to complete these important projects without this vital funding.”

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