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Brownfields grant will help clean up site of former foundry

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ROCHESTER - The city of Rochester announced on Monday that it has earned a Brownfield cleanup grant from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

The $200,000 Brownfields cleanup grant will support the city's efforts to remove contaminated soil at the lot located at 10-16 Wallace St. The project will ultimately improve the environment around the lot, while also preparing it for potential redevelopment.

Brownfields are former industrial or commercial sites where future use is hindered by contamination from the sites' previous uses.

With the grant, the City of Rochester will work to remove soil contaminated with chlorinated solvents. The soil is a contributing source of ongoing groundwater contamination and, if left unaddressed, could pose problems for future buildings on the now-vacant site.

The contamination dates back to 1892, when the site was first developed as a foundry and was subsequently occupied by multiple foundries and other industrial and commercial operations, including a metal recycling facility that closed in 2007.

Once decontaminated, the site would be open to potential redevelopment as either a residential, commercial or industrial use under its existing zoning.

"This lot is a linchpin property in the city's ongoing revitalization efforts," City Manager Blaine Cox said. "Earning a Brownfields grant to overhaul this land is a tremendous step forward as we look to further enhance our downtown area and support growth that's in line with our economic development goals."

Rochester was one of two cities in New Hampshire to earn the 2018 Brownfields grant, with Manchester securing the other. Funds for these grants were made available from the Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF), which provides financial support for the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties. Program income from this RLF was utilized in an effort to clean up Brownfield sites and position these properties for redevelopment.

The grant is expected to cover the majority of the cost of the cleanup project.

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