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Jaffrey working towards remediation plan for WW Cross building

  • The W.W. Cross building in Jaffrey. MAPS4NEWS—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 6:58PM

Jaffrey town officials are working toward a remediation plan for a former industrial manufacturing property so it can be treated and promoted for redevelopment. 

The 11.29-acre parcel of land and 100,810 square-foot industrial building on Webster Street – which formerly housed the tack and fastener manufacturing company W.W. Cross – has been studied since 2017 to determine the “potential threats and obstacles” associated with developing the property, Planning and Economic Development Director Jo Anne Carr said Wednesday. 

“The idea was to get a sense of what potential contaminants might be there and what the remediation plan might be,” Carr said. “Having this data informs that… it allows a potential developer or the town to understand the constraints.”

Phase two of an environmental site assessment was presented by Ransom Consulting, Inc. during a Select Board workshop meeting last week. 

The assessment was funded by a grant through the Southwest Region Planning Commission, which received money from the EPA Brownfields program, Carr said.

A more focused assessment has been recommended and that the consulting group should hopefully be done with their work by June, Carr said. The goal is to develop a remediation plan to eliminate onsite contamination. 

The additional investigation will help determine the extent of cadmium, cyanide, and PCE impacts to soil and groundwater, according to the assessment report.

Carr said that before the 1970s there were no rules about discharging contaminants into the ground – something that led to the issues at the site. 

Cleaning up the site would fall to whoever develops the property, unless culpability was assigned to a prior owner. 

The building is privately owned, Carr said. The site was purchased at an auction in 2007 and was divided into tenant spaces and units that had previously been used for storage, a woodworking facility, two gyms, and more.

“The tack shop had the most impact [to the site],” Carr said. 

There have been no active business operations at the site since 2012, according to one of the assessment reports. 

The building would likely have to be torn down, due to the amount of remediation needed. 

Being one of two “anchor” properties in the downtown area that have not been “fully realized” – the other being the former St. Patrick School property on Main Street – Carr said town officials want to have the property redeveloped to benefit the town.

“It’s right in our downtown area,” Carr said. “There are opportunities for retail and housing.”

During a recent meeting, Carr said residents expressed an interest in having a multi-use space on the property, one that could combine retail, housing, a farmers market, an incubator for small businesses and/or other options.

The town will hold a workshop on June 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Jaffrey Civic Center to see what the community would like to see in that space. 

“We will wait and see what happens then, so we can get a more fleshed-out idea,” Carr said. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com.