Claremont awarded $800K EPA grant for city-owned brownfield
CLAREMONT, N.H. (WCAX) - Claremont, New Hampshire, is getting $800,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency to help redevelop a brownfield site.
Redevelopment efforts along the Sugar River in Claremont have been going on for more than a decade. Now, a new grant from the EPA will help this community decide what comes next.
“This grant will really help us see what we can do where,” said Nancy Merrill, Claremont’s director of planning and development.
City officials are currently drafting new plans for a 6.5-acre city-owned plot that used to be home to industrial manufacturing. The contaminated brownfield site needs remediation before it’s redeveloped. “Some performance space -- we had people talking about new construction, a brewery or a restaurant, We’ve had people talk about splash pads and dog parks and recreation in general,” Merrill said.
“I mean, any of those would be great,” said Jessica Kinson, owner of Les Bella Photography. She has owned a studio downtown for three years and was born and raised in Claremont. “We are building a house here so we definitely feel passionate about making the town a better place.”
A pedestrian bridge built 15 years ago over the Sugar River connects the downtown to the land being redeveloped and was the first major piece of the revitalization puzzle across the river.
“Claremont doesn’t have a ton of things that bring everyone together,” Kinson said. Like an outdoor amphitheater perhaps? The city is continuing to seek input from the community as plans progress. A redevelopment committee will take shape this summer.
“I’d like to see a plan done by the end of the year,” Merrill said.
Merrill says the EPA funding could potentially uncover problems that would bring this community back to the drawing board.
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