CHICOPEE — The City Council approved approximately $2.6 million for the Rivermills fill program during its Feb. 6 meeting.

To assist with the redevelopment of the Facemate and Uniroyal sites, the city needs to implement a fill program.

Planning Director Lee Pouliot said, “Our proposal for these two areas of the Uniroyal and Baskin sites is to backfill them to a level that is pretty close with the existing top of the levy’s and to make those lower tier levels more developable and more consistent with the redevelopment plans.”

He added, “The proposal is to solicit other entities from across Massachusetts to purchase volume where they can bring soils that meet our criteria, as detailed in our fill management plan, to our sites so we can use it as backfill.”

Mayor John Vieau explained that the project includes taking in about 240,000 tons of fill to level off each site with the levy.

He added that the current market fee for the tipping is $20 per ton and “Chicopee can estimate a revenue of approximately $4.8 million if everything goes well.”

The Baskin warehouse, which is also locally known as the “Facemate” parcel and the neighboring Uniroyal site are both set to receive a fill treatment to help with development.

It was announced in early 2022 that Brisa Development is set to reinvent the former Baskin warehouse space with a $50 million project that will include a multi-purpose sports complex, a brewery and an apartment complex at 75 West Main St.

Vieau said, “It’s no secret we are really excited about the Baskin property which is that four acre parcel where we have a preferred developer that is going to be building just over 100 residential units, a multi purposed indoor sport complex and a brewery converting the old Baskin building.”

As part of the fill management project, manhole covers will need to be raised and the Oak Street pump station behind the Uniroyal property will be eventually demolished.

Pouliot explained that this fill management plan will be a multi-year effort and the projects will be split into two separate projects.

The expectation is that the Baskin site fill management project will only take a few months.

“We are going to be dealing with the Baskin site first because the developer there is hoping to break ground on their residential building this spring so we are hoping to start that piece of the project sooner than later. There is much less infrastructure work that needs to be dealt with. We are just raising manhole covers,” Pouliot said.

Pouliot added that the Uniroyal fill management project may take a little longer.
“We can’t start filling at Uniroyal until Michelin completes their work in the lower tier and there is much more significant infrastructure work that we’ll have to coordinate with the DPW on getting completed including the abandonment of that pump station. The majority of the fill will be going to Uniroyal project,” Pouliot explained.

Vieau also talked about potential future for the Uniroyal property.

He said, “We also have a preferred developer whose interested in the Uniroyal property and that’s about just over 12 acres and in that proposal from the preferred developer, we are going to be announcing shortly as soon as there is a commitment.”

Pouliot said that the permitting for this project took seven years to be completed with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and he is excited to see plans for the project get started.

“This is a project that’s been many, many years in the making,” Pouliot said.
Ward 2 City Councilor Shane Brooks added, “This will allow us to bring in clean fill that will meet the EPA standards. This will jumpstart a project that has been a long time coming.”

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