Fellows Gear Shaper Manufacturing facility founded in 1896 was transformed with the support of EPA funding provided through SWCRPC’s Brownfields Reuse Project. It is now the home of the Springfield Health Center, Vermont Adult Learning Center and The Great Hall, Springfield’s showcase for the arts.

About the Brownfields Program

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines brownfields as, “abandoned, idled or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.” More recently, Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources amended its definition of brownfields through the Vermont legislature to read: “Brownfield site” means real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the release or threatened release of a hazardous material.”

What is the Regional Interest in Brownfields?

Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off greenspaces and working lands. The existence of brownfields has its roots in the strict liability provisions created in 1980 by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), a federal law also known as “Superfund.” The strict liability standards of CERCLA that hold owners, whether past or present, responsible for all cleanup costs also impacted Brownfields since many potential developers and businesses want to avoid such unknown and potentially monumental risks.

EPA and SWCRPC Brownfields Programs

The existence of brownfields has its roots in the strict liability provisions created in 1980 by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), a federal law also known as “Superfund.” The strict liability standards of CERCLA that hold owners, whether past or present, responsible for all cleanup costs also impacted Brownfields since many potential developers and businesses want to avoid such unknown and potentially monumental risks.

In 1995, the EPA established its Brownfields Program in an effort to limit the liability of potential developers and to change the old mentality of “fence and keep out” to “revitalize and return to the community.”.

Since 1999, SWCRPC has been an active participant in the EPA’s Brownfields Program, which provides federal funding for assessing and cleaning up brownfields. The Southern Windsor County Brownfields Reuse Program (SWCBRP) has been assisting towns and property owners throughout southern Windsor County with technical expertise and funding in the revitalization of Brownfields.

Staff Contact: Cindy Ingersoll