A former gas station at the entrance to Rockwell Park may get a $150,000 environmental cleanup with money allocated by the federal government to stimulate the economy.
The 316 Park St. property needs the costly cleanup to remove wastes that have leaked from underground fuel tanks in years past.
The Valley Council of Governments’ regional brownfields partnership has already helped the city pay for studies to find out what needs to be done to clean up the privately owned site. It is now considering a final allocation to carry out the work, city officials said.
“That’s really good news,” said Edward Krawiecki, Jr, an assistant city attorney.
The city has long eyed the property for inclusion in neighboring Rockwell Park. It’s an eyesore that detracts badly from the newly overhauled entrance to the historic park, officials said.
But efforts to purchase the site have fallen short because the city has repeatedly said it won’t take ownership of the property until it is cleaned up.
The regional brownfields program recently got $1 million in stimulus funds to begin tackling projects on its 26-town list.
Krawiecki said Bristol has a good shot at the money because it has already invested $7 million or more to overhaul Rockwell Park and has been working on the gas station issue for years.
The city has a letter of intent from the property owners to sell the site with any costs absorbed by city taxpayers taken off the selling price.
The property is owned by Vincent Nemeragut of Easton. Its appraised value is $215,200, which doesn’t take into account the necessity of an environmental remediation.
He bought the 1960 gas station a decade ago for $110,000. It closed about five years ago.
The city is spending millions to spruce up Rockwell Park in a bid to pump life back into the West End park that used to serve thousands of working class families. It had fallen into disrepair and was little used until recently, when improvements to its playground and a new skatepark began drawing crowds again.
By purchasing the gas station and a house at 15 Dutton Ave., the city aims to open up the entrance to the park more, to make it more visible and attractive from Park Street.
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