Massachusetts towns turning toxic, derelict properties into public parks

When people pass the former Cadilac Paint site on Eliot Street in Ashland, Massachusetts, many don’t even realize it’s there.

The building is dilapidated and surrounded by overgrown trees, a ghost of the former paint and varnish company that was there for more than 40 years.

Residents have been pushing to clean up the property for decades but the cost and accompanying liability that come with owning a contaminated property halted past efforts.

Now, officials want to clean it up and turn it into a small park using money though state and federal grant programs.

Plains Park in Milford is not a designated brownfield site, but the town turned a former landfill into a park which is home to countless youth sports since it opened in 2001.

It’s really been a good program for us,” said Milford Parks Director Michael Bresciani, “Twenty acres of nothing is now 20 acres of park.

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