Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
New Bedford and Lawrence will each receive up to $200,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to remediate brownfield sites.
Michele Paul, New Bedford’s environmental stewardship director, said the city is looking at both short- and long-term solutions for a site the city assumed responsibility for many years ago.
Long-term planning is taking into consideration the eventual extension of commuter-rail service to New Bedford, something that is not expected to be in place before 2030, according to Paul.
“We certainly don’t want to be looking at this blighted piece of property” over the long term, Paul said. “But we’re also asking, ‘What can we do in the short-term that would satisfy the immediate needs of the neighborhood.’”
One concern is that projects such as playgrounds and other recreational facilities might have to be removed to make way for the commuter-rail extension.
“There are a lot of folks who would love to see a soccer field,” Paul said. “But, if we put a soccer field there, we don’t want to see it go away in 10 years. We’ve got to be thinking, ‘How do we move an economic development piece into that spot, but also make sure we keep the recreational piece?’”
In Lawrence, the grant is linked to an abandoned railroad corridor, a section of which will be converted to a 1.4-mile linear park, according to Abel Vargas, the city’s business and economic development director.
The project is expected to be completed in 12 to 18 months.
Vargas said the city will be working closely with the nonprofit Groundwork Lawrence, which works to advance environmental and open space improvements.
“The more people involved with the project, the better,” Vargas said.