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The Lowell Sun, by Mary E. Arata

Murray: $1.5 Million in Grants for ‘Green’ Communities

October 27, 2010

DEVENS – Standing aside land that’s proposed to become a regional household hazardous-materials drop depot, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray appeared yesterday morning at the Devens DPW garage to announce the awarding of $1.5 million in grants for 104 cities and towns, regional groups and nonprofits. The money stems from the Patrick administration’s Sustainable Materials Recovery Program, a subset of the Green Communities Act.

Murray, who chaired a legislative group studying the benefits of regionalization, said communities need to begin to embrace the notion.

“Some of the Thanksgiving Day rivalries have prevented towns from talking to one another on regionalization,” Murray said.

The Devens Enterprise Commission received a $100,000 grant to establish a proposed Regional Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center for residents and small businesses. Money in hand, the commission conducted a public hearing last night to grant a unified permit for the project, to be located off the Cook Street-side of the DPW yard. The DEC serves as the one-stop permitting authority for all Devens development.

Nine communities are participating in the center. They are: Ayer, Bolton, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Littleton, Lunenburg and Townsend.

Each community would benefit by having 20 different hazardous waste drop-off dates each year, including both weekday and weekend opportunities, to try to keep traffic through nearby Devens neighborhoods to a minimum. The regional hazardous materials collection center is projected to save each participating community at least $10,000 annually.

MassDevelopment President and CEO Robert Culver said the drop-off center is a “big deal.”

“Now we want to start providing services to the cities and towns, not just those that abut Devens but who make up the larger neighborhood around Devens,” said Culver. He noted, though, the need to still be “respectful of town geopolitical boundaries.”

Among the $1.5 million in grant awards statewide, Groton is receiving $50,000 toward its participation in a regional recycling collection facility with Littleton and Ashby. Harvard is receiving $9,750 and Littleton is receiving $10,000 to each start its own “pay-as-you-throw” solid-waste program, and Ayer and Shirley are each receiving a $750 grant for targeted small-scale initiatives.

© Copyright 2010 The Lowell Sun.