GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

April 3, 2013

City's Fort land being cleaned for sale

Waterfront site being cleaned for sale

The city has begun preparing for sale a piece of property at the tip of the Fort that once served as Gloucester’s “Long Wharf,” where the biggest of the schooners tied up at the outer edge of the inner harbor — across from the Paint Factory — so they could load and unload and then easily turn around to go back to sea.

At 110 Commercial St., the 0.48 acres of property is valued at $357,000 and is within the marine industrial zone.

Stephen Winslow, senior project manager in the Community Development Department said the city is using $50,000 in MassDevelopment grant money to clean the waterfront property facing the Paint Factory and a smaller parcel at 91 Commercial St., which the city intends to develop itself as a sewer pumping station as part of the upgrade of the Fort infrastructure in anticipation of construction of the Beauport Gloucester Hotel on the site of the old Birdseye plant.

Winslow said both properties were taken in tax title settlements. The waterfront property had been owned by Producer’s Fish Co. since the 1920s. It was taken in 2010, and until then had been used by lobstermen and fishermen as a squatters’ locale for the storage of lobster traps and gear.

Winslow said Weston Solutions, the environmental contractor, has been drilling wells to test ground water for oil and contaminants. The company has also been using ground-penetrating radar to determine what lies beneath the concrete that was once the floor of the fish company.

He said the city would have the environmental report from Weston Solutions within the next couple of weeks after which the city would do what was needed to prepare the site for sale.

Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3464, or at rgaines@gloucestertimes.com.

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