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Starting Incinerator Site Transformation with a Demolition

11 years after initial study, town ready to being process of deciding what to put on landfill.

After 11 years of studies, money and debate, the beginning of a new chapter for the former incinerator and transfer station off Concord Avenue near the Lexington line is about to be written as the town's will ask Town Meeting in May for $824,000 to obtain designs, permits and demolish the incinerator building to prepare the location to be "capped."

Not that Belmont had much choose in the matter; the state's Department of Environmental Protection has ordered the landfill site – which operated as a trash incinerator and transfer station from 1959 to 1973 – sealed since the beginning of the last decade.

Yet while the town will environmentally "cap" the site – by placing layers of sand, soil and other material on top of the current landfill – it's still up in the air what will sit above the former ash field when the work is completed.

And while the watch dog Warrant Committee has not recommended spending the figure presented to the committee by Office of Community Development Director Glenn Clancy at its Wednesday, April 18, meeting, there doesn't appear to be issues to prevent the committee from giving the article a thumbs up, said Warrant Committee Chairwoman Elizabeth Allison.

"The state has told us that we need to cover the site," said Allison, adding that than the money

While the demolition of the building will cost $534,000, capping the 17-acre solid ash landfill within the 25 acre site to state environmental specifications will cost just under $2.9 million, a price tag that does not include preparing the site for post-closure uses.

Currently, the town's six-year-old Ash Landfill Stabilization Fund contains $4.1 million to be used transforming the site. 

According to an analysis by the town consultant CDM Smith, the options of the "capped" location are passive recreational– trails and open space – a multi-use athletic field, a possible building such as a skating rink or an office building.

The land can also be set aside for Public Works uses such as being a snow disposal area, temporary storage for recycling, and a temporary tree and brush area.

The issue will come down to money; building an athletic field will cost an additional $1.2 to $1.8 million on top of the "capping" amount while passive recreation will cost a fraction of that amount, only $100,000.

CDM Smith also suggests covering the area with photovoltaic panels to create a solar energy farm which would require no additional post closure costs and has the potential of generating income.

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