Local News

Local planning commissions receive brownfields grants

The Rutland Regional Planning Commission and The Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Planning Commission were among two recipients of  brownfields grants from the Environmental Protection Agency. Six grantees in the state received a total of $2.2 million. Each organization received $300,000.

Rutland Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Ed Bove said the money will be used to fund environmental clean-up projects in the area.

“We try to invest in sites that have high potential for reuse,” Bove said. “We focus on downtown and village areas.”

Rutland Regional Planning Commission recently invested $115,000 into the former Berwick Hotel site in Rutland, which was a gas station before it was a hotel that burned in 1973. Bove said the environmental clean-up is part of what led to a developer considering investing in the site toa build a hotel.

Both planning commissions have received EPA grants in the past. The EPA has awarded $114 million in assessment grant funding since it started, with $109 million in revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding and $75 million in cleanup grant funding. There are an estimated 450,000 brownfields currently nationwide.

Two Rivers Planning Commission Executive Director Peter Gregory estimated he’s received $1 million in grants from the EPA in 25 years.

Two Rivers looks to invest in downtown areas that are underutilized or abandoned. Previous Two Rivers funding has covered the Farmway site in Bradford and a former auto dealership in Woodstock.

“There’s certainly not enough money to address them all,” Gregory said.

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