Merrimac Paper Site

Merrimac Paper Site Virtual Public Meeting
 7:00 PM on October 15, 2020

The City of Lawrence will hold a virtual public meeting to obtain comments on the environmental cleanup and reuse of the Merrimac Paper Site. The meeting will present recent assessment data, an Analysis of Brownfields Clean-up Alternatives, and the draft application to the US EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant Program. Meeting participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about public health concerns and provide input for inclusion in the city’s proposal to the EPA. 

Click here to register for the public meeting.

Click here to view the Analysis of Brownfields Clean-up Alternatives and to comment on the report.

About the Site

The City of Lawrence took ownership of the Merrimac Paper Site (4.75 acres) from 2017-2019 through tax lien foreclosures. From 1866 until 2005 the property was home to a paper processing facility employing as many as 275 people while producing as much as 125 tons of paper a week.  Currently, the site’s 18 buildings (1M+ square feet) are vacant and in a severe state of disrepair. Since closure, the property deteriorated rapidly until a fire destroyed most of the remaining building in 2014.

Recent efforts to redevelop the site include:

  1. Securing $750,000 from the MassDevelopment Site Readiness Program to demolish the existing buildings.
  2. Receiving $400,000 to remediate the eastern portion of the property to create a future connection between the Lawrence Rail Trail and the Merrimack River Trail.
  3. Coordinating environmental reports with MassDEP and US EPA to better understand the structural condition of the existing buildings, map the extent of hazardous building materials, and assess the site’s soils and groundwater to determine the risk to public health and evaluate cleanup alternatives. 
  4. Support the US EPA’s Emergency Response team to demolish contaminated and structurally unsound buildings before the city took ownership.