At its March 6 meeting, the Concord Select Board moved forward toward determining the future of NMI/Starmet property at 2229 Main St. The contaminated federal superfund site is in the midst of a multi-year $250 million federally-funded cleanup which is expected to be completed in four to five years.
The Board will appoint a new task force to evaluate the risks to the Town associated with acquiring or not acquiring the property. If the recommendation is to acquire the property, the task force will outline a detailed plan, timetable and estimated costs for doing so. Included will be likely uses and a potential development plan as well as institutional controls to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
The task force will host, at a minimum, one public hearing and has an October 31, 2024 deadline to issue its report. Select Board member Henry Dane expressed the hope that an acquisition recommendation could be made in a matter of months rather than a year-and-a-half.
Paul Boehm co-chaired of the NMI/Starmet Re-Use Committee, which submitted a comprehensive re-use report in 2021. He said that new task force should decide if the site is worth acquiring, if so, how to do it. And, just as importantly, how to communicate with the general public the financial and health risks associated with acquisition.
Pam Rockwell, a member of the committee overseeing the cleanup, pointed out that federal agencies are responsible for monitoring and fixing any problems that arise in the future.
To facilitate the planning process, the town has received a $20,000 state EPA grant which will look at successful re-development of other superfund sites. At NMI/Starmet, remediation to the residential standard allows a wide range of uses. More than half of the 46-acre site will likely remain open space and other uses could include municipal facilities, commercial buildings, sustainable and affordable housing, recreation fields, and gardens.
The task force’s charge will be finalized at the Board’s March 20 meeting. Citizens interested in serving on the task force are encouraged to complete a volunteer form at the town’s website and select the 2229 Main Advisory Task Force.