Environmental Site Issues Present an Opportunity
Environmental concerns loom large in the construction industry, as discussed in our last post about asbestos. Yet, environmental issues also present opportunities for construction firms to partner with their communities. These opportunities will become even more apparent in Maine over the coming year. In 2015, the EPA awarded grants to various communities in the state for assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites.
The US EPA National Brownfields Program, started in 1995, has awarded nearly $250 million in grant money to communities in New England alone. Since its creation, the program has expanded to include federal, state, and local partners. Grant money provides communities with funding to assess, clean up, and redevelop contaminated sites. This, in turn, supports local economies and adds jobs while safeguarding public health and the environment. Constructions firms not only have an opportunity to increase new business, but also to support the very communities that provide their projects.
Locally, in downtown Berwick, Maine, the Prime Tanning Factory site encompasses a large amount of space and after the tannery closed in 2008. Since they declared bankruptcy in 2010, the site has remained empty. Local organizations wanted to revitalize Berwick with some development, green space, and a walkway. Before those plans could move forward, the Prime Tanning site contamination would need to be taken care of.
As part of the 2015 grant, the EPA awarded $600,000 to Berwick for the cleanup. Currently, the town is in the RFP process to hire an environmental professional to oversee the project and they expect work to commence in the spring of 2016. Once the site is ready for redevelopment, there will likely be further proposals to carry out design and building. At CRG, we help our clients to identify and obtain new business. The key is to identify opportunities down the road.
CRG’s co-founder, Dean Raftopoulos, has personally been involved in the environmental field for over 15 years. If you are interested in learning more about our environmental services or our representation, you can contact us at 603-427-2300 for more information.