Tuesday evening, City Council approved Mayor Kos’ request for an appropriation of $2,890,825 for ongoing abatement and demolition work at the former Uniroyal site. This additional funding was requested for the demolition of several middle-tier buildings where conventional abatement is no longer possible due to significant deterioration that has jeopardized the structural integrity of the buildings.
In May 2016, the City of Chicopee was awarded three $200,000 U.S. EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grants for Uniroyal Buildings #28 North, #28 South, and #28 North Extension. Since October 2016, BETA Group, Inc., the City’s environmental consultant, has been working to design an abatement plan for the building which included building evaluation and hazardous material abatement. City Council approved an appropriation request of $870,000 in April 2017 in support of the other ongoing work at the Uniroyal site. The request also outlined the need for $1,000,000 in additional funding to be requested in FY 2018 to complete the conventional abatement of the middle-tier buildings.
As part of the process for preparing the U.S. EPA required Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) documents BETA Group evaluated the buildings and confirmed that their structural integrity had been compromised by severe deterioration, which had been accelerated by exposure to the elements. Weathering of the roof and building envelope allowed for water to intrude inside the building resulting in rotting wooden floorboards and falling asbestos. This deterioration created unsafe working conditions.
Together with BETA Group, the City of Chicopee Planning Department has worked to explore all options and has determined that the best course of action would be for the demolition of the buildings followed by management of hazardous materials following demolition. Once complete, only Buildings #15, #27 & #42 along with the Administration Building will remain. The Planning Department is planning for future abatement and demolition of Building #15 and to market the remaining buildings for private redevelopment once abatement is completed.
“Since 2010, the City of Chicopee has been able to advance needed abatement and demolition work in a phased approach building by building,” said Director of Planning Lee Pouliot. “The advancement of this project will address five buildings – a significant advancement of remaining work. The project will address these structures before further deterioration creates imminent threats to the community.”
The estimated total cost of these activities is $3,600,325, of which $589,500 will be covered by U.S. EPA grants and $120,000 will be covered by Community Development Block Grant cost share. To ensure expenditure of all U.S. EPA Brownfields grant funds, the City must bid the project no later than March 2018, after which the Planning Department anticipates an 8-9 month construction project.
To date, the City of Chicopee has received $2.4 million in U.S. EPA Brownfields grants, with an additional $200,000 from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, for Brownfields clean-up at the former Uniroyal and Facemate sites. Since 2009, eleven of the original 21 structures have been demolished and ten remain standing as of January 2018.
Uniroyal Buildings Map