Source: Governor’s Office Governor Jim Douglas today announced that $300,000 in brownfield grants have been awarded to help revitalize former industrial and commercial properties in Barre, Brattleboro, Burlington, Johnson Village, Springfield and Wells River.Brownfields are properties where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.“The brownfield program is a great example of our ability to balance environmental protection and economic development,” Governor Douglas said. “Redevelopment of brownfields properties stimulates local economy by getting unproductive properties back on the tax rolls, strengthening downtowns and creating jobs.”The brownfield reuse program at the Department of Environmental Conservation has awarded almost $1 million in grants in the last three years to 20 projects across Vermont.The following projects received grants:In Barre: $20,000 for assessment work at an old granite shed on Granite Street. ReCycle North of Burlington hopes to reclaim the building to expand its current reuse and job skill training operations.In Brattleboro: $15,000 for assessment work at the former TriState Auto building located on the New England Youth Theater campus for the future home of FulcrumArts. FulcrumArts, which won the 2007 Brattleboro Development Credit Corp.’s business plan contest, plans to create a downtown arts facility.In Burlington: $100,000 to remove contaminated debris and sediment at the former Moran plant, along the waterfront.In Johnson Village: Up to $11,000 for a corrective action plan at the former Vermont Electric Co-Op facility on School Street. Housing Vermont and Lamoille Housing Partnership are cooperating to create 24 units of affordable housing for seniors and families.Additionally, there are plans to build a distribution center for a local organic farming group.In Springfield: Up to $94,000 to remove the chip shed and boiler house building and other cleanup at the former Fellows Gear Shaper site on River Street.In Wells River: $60,000 for indoor air sampling, surface cleaning and removal of underground storage tanks at the former Adams paper mill on Main Street, which will eventually become warehouse space and general commercial space for lease.About the Brownfield Reuse Initiative Program: The Department encourages brownfields reuse as a means of achieving positive environmental and human health impacts while advancing sound land-use practices. Reutilization of historically productive properties supports sustainable development trends and promotes community and economic growth. An acre of brownfields redevelopment preserves 4.5 acres of open space.The Department of Environmental Conservation’s initiative comprises several programs and provides one-stop shopping where brownfields developers can obtain the tools needed to deliver projects in a safe, timely and cost-effective manner. Most projects can be completed within a 9- to 18-month time frame, and work can be expedited to meet developer needs.DEC takes a holistic approach to project management, providing technical assistance with the purchase and cleanup of properties; securing financial assistance to leverage developer investment; and coordinating the involvement of related programs offered by regional planning commissions, the state’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.Additional brownfields assistance programs available in Vermont include regional planning commission grants for environmental investigation, and grants and low-interest loans for brownfields cleanup through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s brownfields revitalization fund.