Chicopee Falls Uniroyal / Facemate Redevelopment Project Report

RiverMills at Chicopee Falls Project

As of May 1, 2011 the project has progressed to the point where buildings 1-6 on the Uniroyal site have been removed to the foundations. Gannett-Fleming, the environmental abatement contractor for Michelin, has been replaced by GZA, representing Michelin, (a responsible party for cleanup of the Uniroyal site). GZA has filed work plans with the Environmental Protection Agency for a number of items to be completed in 2011, including clean up of some conduits, tunnels and drains. Other than under the buildings, a substantial amount of soil abatement has been conducted. Michelin’s clean up will proceed until the property has been cleaned to the extent necessary to permit the redevelopment of the Uniroyal property. The photo below shows the property as of April 20, 2010. The building in the background is #7, part of the anticipated next phase of Uniroyal demolition.

In October, 2010 the Uniroyal/Facemate Redevelopment project received a priority position when the Lt. Governor’s Brownfield Support Team announced that Uniroyal/Facemate has been added to the team’s project list. The Team is a multi-department, multi-jurisdictional group consisting of, among others, the Lt. Governor, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Attorney General, Mass Development, MassHistoric Commission, MassHighway, the Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous City of Chicopee departments. The Team is designed to identify and troubleshoot administrative and bureaucratic issues causing delay or working at cross purposes, and will provide a roadmap for resolving these types of issues as they inevitably arise.

The City has received permission from the MassHistoric Commission to remove all the strucures at Facemate and is in the process of selecting a demolition designer.

The City has obtained a hazardous materials survey on Facmate 1 & 5, the large, partially collapsed building. It is estimated that $500,000.00 will be required to abate the asbestos, lead, animal waste and mercury in the structure. Removal of such materials before any further collapse or demolition will allow recycling of the remaining materials, so far as it can be done safely. There were three underground storage tanks on the Facemate property which were used for No. 6 oil. Two 30,000 gallon tanks have been  removed, the 210,000 gallon tank is in the process of being decommissioned with completion expected in late spring of 2011.

The City has hired a number of professional firms to assist in the redevelopment process. Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. is the Master Planner. They have held three public meetings to obtain public input on the redevelopment potential and have issued their final report, available on the documents and forms section of the Community Development page.

The City has arranged with The Iron Horse Preservation Society to remove rails and a number of railroad ties from the rail spur running from Grape Street to the former Uniroyal property and then within the former Uniroyal and Facemate properties. The rail and tie removal on the Grape Street to Uniroyal portion will be complete by May 15, 2011.

A group of Cornell Graduate students have also completed work on a redevelopment vision as part of their coursework towards their Landscape Architecture Masters Degrees. As part of that process, they surveyed the residents of the City as to the direction the City should take on redevelopment. The results of that survey are posted in the documents and forms section. They orally presented their vision on May 25, 2010 in the Chicopee High School Auditorium. The City of Chicopee thanks Lee Pouliot, Declan Keane, Christian Gruber, Chris Hardy and Chris Horton for their hard work and inspired vision of factory village in the future.

The City has also hired the Beta group as environmental and structural consultant in order to provide city officials with the necessary information to ensure Michelin completes the clean up as required by law on the former Uniroyal site, and to assess the extent of contamination and building stability on the Facemate portion of the site. Beta’s initial Facemate analysis regarding environmental questions has determined that there are only limited problems there. The structural report is complete and is available in the documents and forms section of this page. Beta is also conducting supplemental site investigation to complete the environmental analysis.

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