The Environmental Protection Agency office of New England announced a $600,000 grant to clean up the old Kiley Barrel site in Union Square in Somerville, officials said at a press conference today.
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said the money was essential to “recover the neighborhood” and continue an environmental assessment of the site before physical remediation can begin.
“It’s part of renovating the infrastructure to set the table for development,” said Curtatone.
The money will fund a continued assessment of the environmental agents in the soil below, a process that must be complete before any work could begin.
The property is key to a wider redevelopment strategy that dovetails with an extension of the Green Line, which if built as planned, would install a new station abutting the Kiley property, Curtatone said.
The site, situated on the corner of Somerville Avenue and Prospect Street, has sat fallow since the 1998 demolition of the original buildings.
Since then, the city-controlled property has proven a tough sell to developers daunted by the cost of remediating the brown field, said US Representative Michael E. Capuano, who represents Somerville, Cambridge, Chelsea, and most of Boston.
“When I was mayor, I had maybe three developers walk away,” said Capuano, who held the top Somerville job from 1990 to 1998.
In the future Capuano said he hopes the site will be a “gateway to the city,” he said.
Somerville was one of nine communities in the state that received a total of $3.5 million for brown fields.
In New England, $12.55 million was doled out for the environmental cleanup, part of a $76 million aid package being distributed nationwide, according to the New England office of the Environmental Protection Agency.