10.19.20

BRINDISI & SCHUMER ANNOUNCE $800,000 IN FEDERAL FUNDS FOR CHARLESTOWN MALL SITE CLEANUP

After Horrific Fire Senator & Congressman Work To Bring Critical Federal Dollars To Assist With Cleanup Of Dangerous Chemicals

Congressman Anthony Brindisi and Senator Charles E. Schumer announced federal funding to clean up the site of August’s CharlesTown Mall fire. Brindisi and Schumer announced $800,000 will be coming from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assist in cleanup and improve public safety at the site. The funds will be used to clean up the site, build a perimeter fence to protect the community, and continue monitoring the area for toxic chemicals. 

The CharlesTown Mall burned down at the end of August and the New York members worked together to protect public safety and ensure the EPA and DEC were on top of cleanup. Brindisi, standing in front of the burned down mall, made today’s announcement and brought federal funding to the cleanup efforts.

“These federal dollars will help us clean up this site, protect our families, and improve this community,” said Congressman Brindisi. “After the fire, Senator Schumer and I took immediate steps to bring EPA and State DEC to the site and we demanded action to ensure safety for concerned families. With this announcement, we will be able to begin cleanup and move forward. Working together with federal, state, and local officials, we can turn the page on the CharlesTown mall and make a safer area for all.” 

“Following the dangerous CharlesTown Mall fire, I am pleased the EPA has responded to our call to action and delivered significant resources to secure the site from trespassers and begin the clean-up process,” said Senator Schumer. “This immediate EPA funding that Rep. Brindisi and I called for marks a major step of progress in our efforts to ensure CharlesTown no longer poses a threat to residents and first responders and paves the way for a more productive use for this site.”

Following the blaze, Brindisi sent letters to the EPA and DEC demanding accountability and resources for the cleanup. After Brindisi’s call to action, he was able to announce initial testing revealed safe air quality for the region. Schumer and Brindisi later sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to immediately send an On-Scene Coordinator to inspect the site for environmental and public health threats and determine if the location qualifies for the EPA’s Emergency Response Program.

The EPA funding will be used to stabilize the site and secure the area with a perimeter fence. With these funds, the EPA will demolish additional buildings and further evaluate the area for toxic chemicals like asbestos. Depending on the results of the assessment, additional funding may be needed to complete the cleanup.

The CharlesTown Mall has been plagued by fires and vandalism over the years after the structure fell into a state of disrepair during the early 2000s. Charlestown was built in the 1900s and served as a manufacturing center for Savage Arms during the two world wars, and later as headquarters for Sperry UNIVAC. A new owner purchased the property in 1977, and when CharlesTown opened two years later, it was the first outlet center in the state, drawing in masses of customers from all over the state. At its height from 1982-84, the complex housed 52 stores, specialty shops, two restaurants, Off-Track Betting and a food court. By 1987, the number of shops had dropped to 28, and it eventually closed in 1991 and became the CharlesTown Business Complex.

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