NORTH ADAMS >> A granite tunnel that once channeled the Hoosic River to supply energy for manufacturing may soon be rid of decades worth of contamination.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced a $200,000 grant this month for the environmental remediation of the flume at the Greylock Mill, a long-forgotten and environmentally contaminated understructure of the massive mill complex on State Road in North Adams.
The Town of Adams was also awarded a $400,000 grant in this round of funding for the assessment of properties along the Route 8 corridor.
The funding will help to continue progress on the complete redevelopment of the 230,000-square-foot mill complex, formerly known as the Cariddi Mill. The mill was purchased last year under a variety of LLCs by New York City-based developer Latent Productions.
The developer, led by partners Salvatore Perry and Karla Rothstein, secured the grants with support from the city of North Adams and the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission.
"We're grateful to the EPA and the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission for supporting Greylock Mill as a regional priority," Perry said in an email to The Eagle. "With this recent $200,000 grant, we have over $500,000 in private and public funds to continue the work we have started to create a new purpose for the Flume."
Following the purchase, the developer unveiled plans to renovate the complex into a multiuse facility that includes event, food production, and hotel and condominium space. Renovations of the weave shed, the eastern portion of the complex, already are well underway.
The developer's partnership with the city and Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will allow it to receive funding it likely could not on its own, according to Mayor Richard Alcombright.
"It creates no liability for the city, it doesn't expend any city funds, and it doesn't short anything we might have gotten otherwise," Alcombright said. "It just speaks to the efforts of Sal and Karla of wanting to do the right thing and make sure things get cleaned up in the right order."
The city recently worked with the developer on a property tax deal that would save it money as it invests money into the mill.
Alcombright said the city will forge similar relationships with other developers, including at the nearby Redwood Motel and Blackinton Mill, to seek grant funding.
"It's almost a no-brainer to be doing this stuff," Alcombright said.
Adams, meanwhile, will make use of the funding on a slew of downtown properties that may include Curtis Fine Paper plant, the former Hoosac Coal & Grain property, former Adams Memorial Middle School, 7 Hoosac St. mill, and 50 Commercial St., according to Community Development Director Donna Cesan. The town will partner with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission on the process.
Town officials believe the environmental assessment will help fight against blight and make properties more development-ready.
"It all depends on what the testing shows, but it's a big shot in the arm toward slum and blight remediation," said Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco.
The grants were just two of 38 awarded by the EPA across the six states of New England recently through the Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup grant program.
"When we put a dollar into brownfields, the community gets back $17 in the jobs and economic opportunities. Cleaning and revitalizing contaminated sites not only makes our communities cleaner, it also makes economic sense," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office, in a prepared statement.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.