Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
Brattleboro Transportation Center
Success In EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant Program
(July 14, 2003)
The Windham Regional Commission (WRBRI) originally received $200,000 in 2000 and an additional $150,000 in 2001 in funding from an EPA New England’s Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot to conduct environmental site assessments (ESAs) on a brownfields property in Brattleboro, VT. The ESAs concluded that no clean up was needed at the site and construction began in February 2003 to redevelop the property. The downtown property, consisting of the Bradley Lot (the brownfield property) and the Bushnell Block (an adjoining lot), is coming to life again as a multi-modal transit facility consisting of approximately 340 parking spaces, a passenger waiting area, public restrooms, a small parking enforcement office, and commercial space. On May 27, 2003, Brattleboro held the official groundbreaking ceremony with many local, state, and federal officials in attendance for a “Deck Raising.” The transportation center will be opened in September of 2003, with project completion scheduled for November 2003.
The Windham Regional Commission (WRC) is a voluntary association of 27 towns in southeastern Vermont operating under the authority of the Vermont Municipal and Regional Planning and Development Act. The mission of the WRC is to assist member towns to provide effective local government and to work cooperatively with them to address regional issues. The WRC’s activities include providing technical planning assistance to member towns, involvement in regional issues and projects, citizen education, mapping and information services, major development review, and a variety of inter-governmental coordination activities. Specifically, the WRC established the Windham Regional Brownfields Reuse Initiative in October 2000 to assist its 27 members municipalities with brownfields redevelopment.
The town of Brattleboro also obtained funding for the project from a variety of local, state, and federal sources. This funding included $3.5 million earmarked by Senator Jeffords from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration funds. In addition, a $4 million local bond was approved by residents in 2000. The city of Brattleboro is receiving funding from the State Downtown Program in which the town receives a grant of $100,000 each year for 10 years. The town also secured state of Vermont transportation enhancement funds in the amount of $316,000 to pay for the mid-block connector portion of the project.
The Brattleboro Transportation Center will provide convenient connections between town and regional buses, Amtrak, taxis, pedestrians and cyclists and parking for the downtown area. This parking will help maintain a welcoming downtown area by providing convenient parking to business and access to public transportation. As part of the development of this project, the town of Brattleboro worked with numerous citizens groups, local, state, and federal agencies to make this project a success.
The four-story, 120,000-square-foot transportation center is being developed on two town-owned parcels, which consist of the Bradley Lot (the brownfields property) and the Bushnell Block. The Bradley Lot was utilized for “water cure” or sanatorium buildings in the 1850s, where visitors stayed to be ‘cured’ by the healing waters of natural springs; as a organ manufacturer from the 1860s to the 1920s; as a machine shop, for printing and binding, from the 1880s to the1920s; as a manufacturing facility for pencils, pen holders, paint brush handles, victrolas, and wooden toys from the 1920s to 1955; and as a parking lot since 1955. The Bushnell Block, located in the urban core of Brattleboro, hosted a single-family home from 1879 to1887; a boarding house and residence from 1887 to 1915; and a grocery store and apartments since 1915.
DEW Construction of Williston, VT was awarded the bid to construct the transportation center and estimated that the project would cost approximately $6.2 million. The total cost of the project, $9.6 million, included the construction of the transportation center, environmental costs, soft costs, design fees, and permitting.
Both residents and local officials of Brattleboro have been working on this project since 1997, including participating in more than 100 meetings held by the Downtown Parking Study Committee in preparation for this project. These efforts, particularly at the local level, have paid off with a much needed transportation center to help maintain a vibrant downtown Brattleboro. This project will not only maintain the vital economic center of Brattleboro, but also help the local economy by creating approximately 125 construction jobs and about 18 redevelopment jobs.