GARDINER — One of the most critical puzzle pieces in redeveloping the blighted T.W. Dick site has fallen into place.

Gardiner city officials have secured enough brownfield cleanup money to start remediation work on the Summer Street site of the planned MaineGeneral medical facility.

Remediation work on the 1 Summer St. parcel is expected to be completed by next summer, and that keeps the timeline intact for the June 2017 deadline for the proposed construction project.

A grant totaling $305,000 is coming from the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development’s Office of Community Development. It represents the largest piece of grant funding being sought to clean up the three contaminated parcels of the four-parcel property.

“We’re incredibly happy the state allowed us to consider amending the grant,” Gardiner City Manager Scott Morelli said. “This is a huge step forward in the redevelopment of that property.”

The city had been seeking $200,000 each from the state and the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments and was anticipating providing $80,000 in a local match.

Morelli said after submitting the grant application to the state, the city learned that KVCOG had awarded a grant to another applicant, leaving only $95,000 available and prompting the city’s request to increase the grant amount from the state. Morelli said the city still is pursuing the KVCOG money and also has submitted a grant request directly to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

A decision from KVCOG could come as soon as next month, but the federal funds would not be released until October, if the application is approved.

“This fits in perfectly with what we have anticipated,” Morelli said. “There have been a number of things that had to fall into place just right. It doesn’t often happen.”

Earlier this month, the Gardiner City Council identified the Portland-based Developers Collaborative to work with the city and the hospital to build the new facility on the high-visibility site overlooking both the Cobbosseecontee Stream and the Kennebec River along U.S. Route 201. Plans call for Developers Collaborative to buy the cleaned up site at 1 Summer St. and develop a facility that will meet the expanded space needs of MaineGeneral, which will move there from its current facility on Dresden Avenue once the building is finished.

Developers Collaborative officials have said they are interested in considering development on the other T.W. Dick parcels.

Andrea Smith, development program manager for the state Office of Community Development, said her office gave the maximum it could, and in this case, the fact that the city had a developer for the site weighed in its favor.

“Redevelopment is the goal,” Smith said.

Morelli said he credits both the Department of Economic and Community Development and the state Department of Environmental Protection for recognizing what a game-changer this project is for Gardiner.

Because Gardiner officials had acquired the four parcels — one through a sewer lien and the other three for unpaid taxes — the city was able to seek grant funds for the cleanup.

“If the property were in private hands, it would have killed the project,” Morelli said.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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