SRDC acquired the former Parks & Woolson property in Springfield in 2023.  Since then, the site has been the subject of ongoing environmental assessment in partnership with the Mount Ascutney Regional Commission (MARC) and has been identified as a “Brownfield”.

On the assessment side, a Phase II investigation was completed this past winter, which showed significant contamination.  Those findings have led to the need for an additional Phase II assessment to better characterize the site.  A work plan has been drafted by our environmental consultant and submitted to the state and EPA for approval. In addition to the work plan, a SQAPP (Site Quality Assurance Project Plan) was required and also submitted to EPA.  EPA responded today (5/31) with comments that require a resubmission, which will occur asap. Sampling should begin later in June/July. Depending on those results, it’s very possible additional Phase II supplemental assessments will be needed.

As we get more information on the specificity of the site contamination, we and MARC will retain a structural engineer to determine the current building condition as well as a consultant to work with us in discussions with the VT Division of Historic Preservation. All of that will eventually lead to the development of an ECAA (Evaluation of Corrective Action Alternatives) – basically what can stay/what needs to go/the feasibility of various options.  That, in turn, will inform the development of a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for the site – how it’s going to be cleaned up/torn down or redeveloped (or something in-between?).

Each step will require state and EPA approval (and, likely, also expanding to include the TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) section of EPA) and, thus, will have long timelines.  It will be late 2024 or, more likely, 2025 before we have an idea of what may be possible, in terms of any reuse. If it can be redeveloped, in some form, we will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for potential purchasers/developers in conjunction with the submission of the Corrective Action Plan (CAP). Among other things, this will require a development partner to continue enrollment in the state’s BRELLA program, to ensure cooperation with the cleanup of the site.

Concurrently, we and MARC have overseen securing and removing contaminated materials from the building that posed immediate concerns (e.g. barrels of oils/chemicals).  There have been two rounds of this and another should be underway in the near future.

The former Parks & Woolson facility is one of Springfield’s most historic manufacturing facilities and is an iconic building, along the Black River. While it’s too early to tell, we hope it can have a 2nd life as part of our community’s downtown.