WILLIAMSTOWN -- The development of housing on two town brownfield sites is moving closer to becoming a reality.
Affordable Housing Committee Chairwoman Catherine Yamamoto said the committee is seeking to create requests for proposals (RFPs) for the former Photech Mill on Cole Avenue and the former town garage site at 59 Water St.
"The sites have been cleaned enough so a developer knows there won't be too many unknowns," she said Wednesday.
At a meeting on Tuesday, members authorized Yamamoto to contact Rita Farrell, senior advisor for the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, for information on creating request for proposals (RFPs) for potential developers.
"We've worked with [Farrell] over the past three years on the housing process," Yamamoto said. "She's advised us all along the way, and has been an asset."
The nonprofit works with the state government to help increase the amount of affordable housing.
Yamamoto explained Farrell will give the committee information on the next steps in the process of building affordable housing on the two sites.
On Tuesday, discussion surrounded just how the committee will move forward.
"We're debating on whether to hire a consultant to create and send out RFPs, or going through materials to see if we can do it ourselves," Yamamoto said.
The committee also needs to consider how it will handle the "Cube" -- the concrete building that remains on the Photech site. The committee has a $32,800 proposal from Tighe and Bond for the preparation of the site prior to demolition, including mapping, Yamamoto said.
Work to redevelop the sites has been ongoing for years, Yamamoto said.
In 2004, Town Meeting voted to transfer the 1.3-acre former town garage site on Water Street to Selectmen as surplus property. Similar action was taken at the 4.9-acre Photech in 2007. Thousands of dollars have been spent on cleanup since then.
The most recent work at 59 Water St. was the removal of 70 cubic yards of soil contaminated by leaking fuel. The soil was removed by O'Reilly, Talbot and Okun Associates at a cost of $15,850. The committee has since received word from the firm that the site contains no further contamination, Yamamoto said.
Some work will need to continue at Photech, she said.
"The building has been almost completely remediated," Yamamoto said. "There's some residual contamination, but it's believed to be minimal."
Some contamination needs to be addressed near a section of the property near the riverbank, she said. Due to recent heavy rains and the high water level, crews have been unable to address it.
A site assessment conducted by Tighe and Bond in August 2012 found concentrations of the metals cadmium and silver above state standards.
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