Cleanup, redevelopment of Chicopee brownfields continues

9/7/2017 | Chris Maza

Category: September

The former Racing Oil site.
Reminder Publications photo by Chris Maza

The work to clean up brownfields in the city of Chicopee continues.

After accepting three $200,000 U.S. EPA grants for continued brownfields clean-up at the former Uniroyal property in July, Mayor Richard Kos, City Treasurer Marie Laflamme, and Director of Planning Lee Pouliot announced that brownfields cleanup at the former Racing Oil site at 181 Center St. began in late August. Like the Uniroyal propery cleanup, this project, part of continuing planning efforts for the West End redevelopment, is a result of multiple U.S. EPA Brownfields Cleanup grants.

The Uniroyal grants allowed for the abatement of hazardous building materials at the site within buildings #15, #27, and #42.

“Congratulations to Lee and his team on their continued success on securing these much needed remediation funds,” Kos said of the Uniroyal grant funding. “Their efforts enable our city to continue the clean-up and redevelopment of this important former industrial site.”

Since 2009, 11 of the original 21 structures at the Uniroyal site have been demolished and 10 remain standing. In March, the City Council approved an appropriation request of $870,000 from the Office of Community Development and Planning Department for the continued work as the city prepares the site for redevelopment.

One example of redevelopment is the proposed 92-unit assisted living center slated for Facemate Lot #4. DS Development will oversee that $23 million project.  

The former Racing Oil Service Station, closed for more than a decade, was acquired by the city through tax foreclosure in 2009. A 2011 pilot EPA Area-Wide Brownfields Planning Grant was used to identify and evaluate the site as one of 15 brownfields in the West End.

The site has remained undeveloped since December 2004 when the removal of an on-site kiosk, pump islands and three underground storage tanks was completed.

A 2012 U.S. EPA Targeted Brownfields Assessment determined that the site was contaminated by gasoline and oil releases and identified an additional underground storage tank.

Following the Targeted Brownfields Assessment, the city applied for and was granted a $200,000 Brownfields Cleanup Grant from the U.S. EPA along with a $40,000 CDGB cost share. The city has contracted the Licensed Site Professional services of Tighe & Bond while Western Mass Environmental will conduct the cleanup work. The cleanup project entails the removal of the additional underground storage tank, excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil, injection of treatment reagents, and backfilling the area with clean soil. Once the work is completed, the site will be reseeded instead of paved. Tighe & Bond will follow-up with groundwater testing to make sure that the contamination dissipates.

 “Excited to see another property cleaned and made available for reuse,” Kos said. “I congratulate Lee Pouliot and our Planning Department on receiving this grant.”

Pouliot, who has championed the cleanup of the Racing Oil property and pursued cleanup grants from the EPA for the project, said, “The cleanup and subsequent redevelopment of the Racing Oil property is a crucial endeavor to diminishing environmental hazard and promoting economic development in the West End. The proper reuse of this site is a linchpin in the continued efforts to improve quality of life for all residents, businesses and stakeholders in the neighborhood.”

Following cleanup and close out of the project, the City will release an RFP for development proposals of the property consistent with West End Area-Wide plan.

For more information regarding the West End Area-Wide plan, please visit or contact the Planning Department at 594-1515.

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