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ACRES Bulletin
August 2020

Showing Success in ACRES!


Former mill retains architectural heritage while providing housing, a hospital and green space to New England community

A 200-year-old mill complex that once provided an economic engine in western Massachusetts is now being redeveloped into one of New England’s largest brownfield mill redevelopment projects.

EPA Region 1 is in the midst of a regionwide initiate to focus its Brownfields program on the revitalization and restoration of its iconic and historical mill buildings. New Englanders feel a connection with their old mills, and prefer to restore them rather than tear them down. The mills are as much a part of their heritage as the fieldstone walls that wind throughout the landscape. The brick and carved-stone walls, massive wood timbers and steel I-beams, and wide-planked wood flooring lend an architectural quality and historical authenticity that cannot be reproduced in new buildings.

Located in the Ludlow Village Historic District within an Opportunity Zone and listed on the State and National Register of Historic places, the Ludlow Mills site is being redeveloped in one of the most economically disadvantaged regions in Massachusetts. The site, which covers about 170 acres along 1.5 miles of the Chicopee River, has already seen sections redeveloped into:
  • Senior Housing: Winn Development has spent $24 million rehabilitating the 109-year-old Mill # 10 into 75 senior independent living apartments.
  • HealthSouth Hospital: The $27 million rehabilitation hospital opened in 2014 creating 70 high skilled jobs.
  • Riverwalk and Greenspace: The 1.5-mile paved walking trail along the Chicopee River was built with $600,000 from HealthSouth & WESTMASS. It includes 50 permanently protected acres.
  • Riverside Drive: The Department of Commerce, through the US Economic Development Authority, awarded $3.1 million for the development of this crucial artery that will run through the complex. The town of Ludlow is providing a $3.1 million match to complete this project.
And this is just the beginning. Future plans for the 50 historic mill buildings include a $50 million mixed-use project that is expected to create 2,000 jobs, attract $300 million in private investment, and increase annual municipal property tax revenues by $2 million per year.

According to WESTMASS, $1.3 million in EPA funding has already leveraged over $127 million, 94 percent of it private capital. This represents about $100 realized for every dollar of EPA investment.



Historic Mill Building
One of the historic mill buildings converted to housing. Who wouldn’t want to live here!!??!!


Interior Kitchen



Empty Buildings
Prior to redevelopment, the empty buildings posed a hazard


News

Call for Ideas open until August 24th

The National Brownfields Training Conference is scheduled for April 27-30, 2021 in Oklahoma City! The Call for Ideas is now open; please submit your ideas by August 24, 2020. We invite all members of the Brownfields Community to share information on all things brownfields: remediation approaches, community engagement, financing, liability, environmental justice and more. Additional information on the conference and submitting session ideas can be found at https://brownfields2021.org/.

Features in ACRES

ACRES 6 Improvements

Team ACRES has continued to add functionality and to address issues on the new ACRES 6.

ACRES 5 has been Retired

Yes, sorry to say but access to ACRES 5 has been removed for all users. ACRES 6 has many, many benefits, but like your favorite pair of jeans, will require you to use it to appreciate the great fit.

ICR Changes

Every 3 years the public facing ACRES screens that collect data (mostly the Property Profile Form or PPF) are reviewed. Any updates needed must be approved by OMB. In April several changes were approved and then implemented in ACRES. These involve the change in order of several PPF fields, the removal of several fields that were not often used, and the combination of the 2 text boxes (Anecdotal Property Information and Property Description).

Program Accomplishment Report (PAR)

A new reporting filter has been added for Congressional District. The option is available under Section 3: Select by Region, State and/or Congressional District. To filter the PAR data by district, on Section 3 select a region, select a state within the region, and then opt to select “All” Congressional Districts in the state or only specific districts.

Changes to Targeted Brownfield Assessment (TBA) grants

  • Targeted Brownfield Assessments (TBAs) (STAG funded) have been subdivided by state and territory for each region. Previously, associated properties were displayed under a single TBA for each region (several hundred properties for some regions). For example, the 103 properties previously listed under the TBA for Region 10 have been split into: Alaska with 42 TBA properties, Idaho with 9 TBA properties, Oregon with 9 TBA properties, and Washington with 43 TBA properties. This change makes it easier to locate the properties, gather information by location, and use ACRES reports for statistics by state.
  • Superfund TBAs have been renamed to Pre-law Superfund TBA. In addition, both Pre-law Superfund TBAs and ARRA TBAs will be read-only as they are no longer actively updated. Should you need to update their associated properties, please reach out to the ACRES Help Desk and the updates can be made for you.
If you have any questions, problems or suggestions for ways ACRES can make your job more effective, please let us know by contacting the ACRES Help Desk at: acres_help@epa.gov or (703) 284-8212.

Events & Training

Online Training Offered:

Getting Started:
  For Assessment, RLF, Cleanup, and Section 128(a) Recipients just starting to use ACRES, this training will provide instruction on the process for submitting your property data and demonstrate how to use the tools and functions in ACRES. Approximately 90 minutes.

The Next Level:
  For Assessment, RLF, Cleanup, and Section 128(a) Recipients that are familiar with using ACRES, this training will provide instruction on how to make ACRES work for you and your property scenarios, and the answers to some commonly asked questions. Approximately 90 minutes.

Job Training:
  For Job Training Recipients, this training will provide instruction on the process for submitting your Job Training data and demonstrate how to use the tools and functions in ACRES. Approximately 60 minutes. The next training option is available through the HMTRI All-Grantee meeting for Job Training (https://brownfields-toolbox.org/2020-all-grantee-registration/)

  ACRES next Training Dates (2pm EST) details

 
Getting Started- August 11
October 13
The Next Level- September 8
November 10
Job Training- August 13 (12:15pm EST)



"If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters – 204 if you’re in Japan"

~ Clair Cook






Frank's Tips

Frank Gardner is the Brownfields and Sustainable Materials Management Section Chief at EPA Region 1. In this role, he works with recipients to help them report their activities and successes in ACRES. Frank Gardner

So much more than a database

We all know that ACRES is a national grantee reporting database and the system of record for the Brownfields program nationwide. However, the longer I work at EPA, the more I realize that it is much more than that. It’s interactivity with Cleanups in My Community (CIMC) and the Brownfields Inventory Tool (BIT) make it a handy way for grantees to map their projects, tell their stories, and share their successes within their communities and stakeholder groups. The quarterly reporting feature reduced paperwork and reporting burden for grantees and makes it easier for them to report accurate and high-quality data. In addition, the summaries of outputs and outcomes it provides make it easier for grantees to describe their programmatic capability when they apply for future grants.

ACRES is also an invaluable tool for EPA in terms of projecting and tracking targets and accomplishments, such as assessment completions, cleanup completions, and properties made ready for anticipated use. When we set our annual targets here at EPA, ACRES can easily show us the trend from previous years and the status of all the current grants, which gives us a solid platform of information on which to base our projected accomplishments for the next year. Ever since the regional reorganization occurred last year to form the new Land Divisions, regional staff and managers at EPA have been striving to find connections and synergies between Brownfields and other EPA programs with which Brownfields is now co-located in our regional offices. These other programs typically include underground storage tanks, RCRA corrective action, PCBs, and sustainable materials management. ACRES is a treasure trove of data the likes of which many other EPA programs do not have, and the user-friendliness of the interface makes it the go-to source whenever we need readily-accessible information about brownfield properties where the other land-based cleanup program may also have a stake. In fact, EPA senior management have received briefings in the past month about UST, RCRA, and PCB sites where Brownfields-funded activities by our grantees resulted in outputs that those programs can also count as program outcomes – essentially a 2-for-1 special that never would have been possible without ACRES!

Most importantly, ACRES helps us tell our stories of success in the Brownfields program. When grants are first announced, the grant fact sheets are generated through ACRES, making them available quickly, accurately, and uniformly. These fact sheets are a critical part of EPA’s outreach to the public, press, and elected officials during that exciting time of year for the program. ACRES also provides the great economic data about dollars and jobs leveraged that really highlights the importance of the extensive public and private investment that the Brownfields program unlocks through the country. ACRES is far more than just a database. It is the language of success through which our story is told from the time our grants are awarded until the ribbon is cut on our redeveloped sites and beyond.

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