CHICOPEE , Mass. (wggb) – Another step is taken to revitalize a long vacant piece of property in Chicopee. Today the city received it’s 4th cleanup grant which will help demolish the old Uniroyal Tire Complex in the Chicopee Falls Neighborhood. But it’s just one small step forward in the city’s long term plan.
The city is making massive strides to revitalize this neighborhood. All with the help of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development and $600,000 in Brownfields Cleanup Grants. It takes a lot of work to get these grants but overall New England has been very successful with their applications, receiving funds that are double those normally allotted for the region.
Curt Spalding, Regional Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency explained, “that’s because communities like Chicopee are really good at thinking through what these grants will be used for, because they are not only being rewarded based on the problem they’re solving but on what will happen after that. What kind of redevelopment will happen.”
The beauty of this project is that it’s not dictated to the community, it’s dictated by the community.
“This is all built around what a community wants. Not what EPA wants not what HUD wants. It’s what the community needs and wants,” says Spalding.
The demolition of these buildings is just the next step in what Chicopee officials hope will be the revitalization of this neighborhood. Between the senior center they hope to open in the spring and their plans for a bike and walk path along the river.
It’s a plan that Barbara Fields of the Department of Housing and Urban Development says is exactly what they look for “this is the best use of our resources. taking an abandoned property that is a drag on the local economy, probably a crime magnet, an working with EPA to get the money to take it down to clean up the site to use our moneys and then to put some productive use here.”
Uniroyal Tire was previously known as Fisk Tire and The United States Rubber Company, which has not been in operation since 1980.