Eastern Shore Land Conservancy
114-130 S. Washington Street
Easton, MD 21601
Site Environmental History
The site is located within the Easton National Register Historic District and formerly contained the McCord Laundry Building and five adjacent 1850s row houses.The laundry facility originally opened in 1926 - in at a property that was previously operated as a cobbler’s shop - and closed after 83 years of operation on December 31, 2009. The laundry facility closed in 2009 and the houses became vacant after a fire in 2012. Plant operations included household and institutional laundry and dry-cleaning services for the Eastern Shore region as well as a garment storage division. Contaminants present at the site included chlorinated solvents from dry cleaning chemicals and petroleum from fuel oil, which was contained in underground storage tanks utilized to power the plant’s steam-generating system. The system burned approximately 10,000 gallons of fuel oil per month.
A 15-year environmental cleanup process was completed in 2001 during former dry-cleaning operations; however, additional impacts were identified during the initial phase of site redevelopment/construction. Site remediation activities were conducted in 2014 through 2016 in accordance with the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) Voluntary Cleanup Program regulations and included: removal and off-site disposal of contaminated soil; installation of impervious materials to prevent stormwater infiltration; installation of a vapor mitigation system to prevent chlorinated solvent infiltration into the buildings; and removal of three underground storage tanks. MDE issued a No Further Requirements Determination (NFRD) for the site on October 11, 2016.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a cleanup grant to remediate the site, including $150,000 for hazardous substances and $50,000 for petroleum products. The $200,000 in grant funding covered 12 percent of the total cost of remediation. The project was also awarded
$1.3 million from the New Market Tax Credit Program, a federal program designed to incentivize community development and economic growth via tax credits that attract private investment to distressed communities. The total project cost, including remediation and redevelopment, was estimated to be approximately $7.6 million.
The site was redeveloped as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified conservation center/office space for the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to land preservation in the Eastern Shore region for natural wildlife habitat and prime farmland areas. It also includes a community space where like-minded organizations collaborate and share an educational atmosphere. The space also includes a coffee shop/café for social engagement and provisions.
- Environmental cleanup improves health and well-being of wildlife, environmental media, and people.
- Renovation and utilization of vacant, historical buildings/property revitalizes the neighborhood and community, removes blight, and reduces crime.
- Establishment of a nonprofit organization and conservation center in a downtown district promotes altruism and attention to giving back to the community.
- Operation of a low-environmental-hazard facility in a commercially-zoned, former dry-cleaning space preserves and protects the environment against further contamination.
Information for this success story was gathered from the following sources: Eastern Shore Land Conservancy website, United States Environmental Protection Agency website, Maryland Department of the Environment Land Restoration Program’s web-based mapping application, American Planning Association website, The Star Democrat newspaper website, United States Department of the Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions Fund website, and United States Green Building Council website.