Medway secures environmental monitoring firm for testing at former Medway Block
By Theresa Knapp
In January, the Medway Select Board approved a contract with Tetra Tech to provide environmental monitoring at 120 Main Street, an eight-acre parcel purchased by the town in November for $4,515,000. The sale became final in December.
The town was advised, before Town Meeting voted to buy the land, that there had been a “release of hydraulic oil on the property many years ago , and that oil has been detected below the ground’s surface,” according to the Frequently Asked Questions document related to the Town Meeting vote.
While preparing for the sale, the town hired Tetra Tech to review the site and State findings “and we are confident that the material, located primarily below the existing processing building, is stable and not an immediate threat,” according to the FAQs sheet.
Town Manager Michael Boynton told the Select Board at its Jan. 3 meeting, when it agreed to the contract, “Based on what we were told by this consultant before purchasing, it was pretty clear that it is an excavation-type cleanup. You can’t do the cleanup until the building is gone because the processing building sits on top of it, so the reality is that it should be a, I don’t want to call it a ‘simple’ cleanup, but it should be a complete cleanup.”
The cost to remediate the site is estimated at “a manageable cost of $300,000 to $400,000.”
But remediation is not in the immediate future as the previous owner has until November 2023 to vacate the premises, and the town has yet to decide how to utilize the property.
Because the town now owns the property, it is obligated to keep testing the site until the contamination is removed, which is what prompted the Select Board to secure the services of Tetra Tech at $29,000 per year.
Boynton estimated the cost would likely be closer to $10,000 between now and June 30. He also said there could be Brownfield grant funding available to help with future costs, but there is preliminary work the town must do to be able to apply in August and this monitoring will help in that regard.
The parcel of land at issue is at 120 Main Street and consists of 8.309 acres that border Main Street to the south, Pond Street to the west, the Drybridge Crossing Building to the east, and residential abutters to the north.
The town was interested in the parcel because it is “one of the anchor sites for our Main Street Business District, an area that many Medway residents wish to see become our future ‘Downtown,” says the FAQs sheet. “Being an owner in this area, particularly at this location, allows the Town to serve as a primary stakeholder in what that future Downtown will look like, what its design elements will be, and the scale and timing of when and how that future development will occur.”
Suggested uses for the land include “anything from a Public Safety facility to a new modern and full-service Town Hall, to added green space common areas, or any combination of the above as examples,” per the FAQ sheet.
For more information on the issue, visit https://bit.ly/3xrTrfZ