Pioneer Valley
Planning Commission

Eric Carle Museum, Amherst, MA
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Media Release

CONTACT:Andrew Loew, PVPC Senior Planner, (413) 781-6045
Carl Dietz, Director, Chicopee Office of Community Development, (413) 594-1489


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2011

Chicopee Brownfields Planning Forum Scheduled

Residents, property owners, and businesses in the West End of downtown Chicopee are invited to participate in a public forum October 22 at 9:30 a.m. at the Chicopee Library to discuss revitalization of brownfields in the area. The neighborhood is thought to contain at least ten brownfield sites, which are properties where redevelopment is complicated by the presence (or potential presence) of environmental contaminants.

Participants may sign in at any time during the forum’s three major segments, each of which will provide opportunities to participate or listen. At 9:30 a.m., Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette and the planning team will offer an opening address, followed at 10:00 a.m. by a work session during which participants may suggest ideas for the West End. At 11:00 a.m., a panel of developers and project funders will discuss how to achieve the desired changes and will invite more ideas from the public.

This public forum is part of a brownfields planning process funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, with support from the City of Chicopee. The plan includes a review of environmental conditions at key sites, a market study, and an infrastructure inventory. Community input is sought to help planners develop site-specific and area-wide strategies for the assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of brownfields in the neighborhood. The process will conclude with a detailed implementation plan.

Chicopee’s downtown West End was once the industrial core of the city. Today, several former mills and commercial properties in the area are abandoned or underutilized, including the historic Cabotville Mill complex and the former Hampden Steam power plant site. When cleaned up, neighborhood brownfields may be suitable for residential, commercial, recreational, and industrial re-use, or for use in sustainable solar or geothermal energy production.

Twenty-three communities across the United States were awarded EPA brownfields planning pilot grants in October 2010. Three are located in New England, including two in Massachusetts.

For more information, contact Andrew Loew, PVPC Senior Planner, at (413) 781-6045 or aloew@pvpc.org, or Carl Dietz, Director of Chicopee’s Office of Community Development, at (413) 594-1489. Up-to-date information about the planning process and results is available at www.pvpc.org and www.chicopeema.gov.

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