City Receives $247,000 Towards Clean Up Text Size

Holyoke receives $247,000 to Clean up downtown brownfield site

Holyoke, MA – The City of Holyoke will be receiving $247,000 to clean up asbestos and other hazardous materials at the former Hart Wool Combing Factory, located at 216 Appleton Street thanks to funding provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC). The award increases the total funds for brownfields assessment and cleanup secured by the City to $587,000 since the beginning of 2012.


The site is one of the key parcels identified in the City’s new urban renewal plan, titled “Connect. Construct. Create. – A plan for the revitalization of Center City Holyoke.” Completed in 2012 and approved earlier this year, the plan identifies the building as a prime location for development in an Arts & Innovation District that also features the High Performance Computing Center, the second phase of the Canal Walk and the passenger rail platform, the latter two which will be built in 2014.


Getting sites ready for use is a critical component of my administration’s planning and economic development strategies. We’re making great strides at doing just that as this money comes at the heels of this year’s cleanup of 191 Appleton across the street” said Mayor Alex Morse.


Located directly across the canal from the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center and next to the Police station, the factory was formerly used as a wool combing operation for the manufacturing and storage of wool products, until Hart Wool Combing ceased operations in 1990. Most recently, the building was utilized as working and storage space for an artist specializing in petrified wood. The building had been abandoned and it was taken by the City because of back taxes. A hazardous building materials Survey conducted in 2012 confirmed the presence of asbestos and other hazardous building components, as well as bulk hazardous material and chemical storage containers scattered throughout the site.


A study of the building completed earlier this year identified it as being in poor structural condition, requiring several million dollars just to make it structurally secure. “We had set out to identify the best way to rehab the mill, but the cost profile makes it more likely to be at least a partial demolition project going forward. Regardless, cleaning up the hazardous materials now will allow either scenario to happen sooner and at a much lower cost” added Marrero.


The funds to clean Hart Wool Combing come from the PVPC’s brownfields revolving loan fund. This US EPA-funded resource offers low-interest loans and (where eligible) subgrants to remediate hazardous substances at properties located in Hampden and Hampshire counties.  Tim Brennan, Executive Director of the PVPC, said “We are excited to get involved at this key site in central Holyoke. Cleanup and reuse of strategically located sites like 216 Appleton Street helps the region’s economy and fosters sustainable urban development, while making the neighborhood a safer and more livable place for downtown Holyoke’s residents.”


For more information contact Claire V. Ricker in the Office of Planning & Economic Development at or (413) 322-5575.

Posted on September 30, 2013 by