Removal of hazardous material planned at former Strathmore mill complex in Montague

  • The former Strathmore mill complex, located on the island between the power canal and the Connecticut River, is set for hazardous material removal this spring. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/16/2020 1:36:22 PM
Modified: 4/16/2020 1:36:12 PM

MONTAGUE — Though a long-term plan for the property isn’t set in stone, the former Strathmore mill complex is scheduled for removal of asbestos and other hazardous materials this spring.

The Selectboard approved the hazardous material removal on Monday. The work is scheduled to be finished by the end of May, per the contract with the engineering firm, Tighe & Bond, of Westfield.

According to Town Planner Walter Ramsey, the town took ownership of the former mill complex — located on the island between the power canal and the Connecticut River — in 2010 for back taxes, and is working toward eventually getting it back into use by partnering with a developer.

Any repurposing will likely involve at least partial demolition, Ramsey said. Montague has a plan on file for demolishing about half of the building, including the chimney stack that is visibly decaying.

But without extensive grant funding, and without market interest in redeveloping the property, hazardous material removal is the most the town can do for now to keep the site viable, said Town Administrator Steve Ellis.

“When it comes to old mill buildings, doing nothing over an extended period of time pushes you away from the likelihood of redevelopment, and toward demolition,” Ellis said. “We don’t want anyone to think that we’ve been sitting on our hands relative to making a decision.”

The hazardous material removal is worth about $450,000. It is funded by a $250,000 Brownfields Redevelopment grant from MassDevelopment, and the remainder is being covered by the town of Montague, Ramsey said.

The eventual redevelopment of the property will likely involve partial demolition and selective reuse, Ramsey said.

“There’s a preference to retain the historic buildings there, but we acknowledge that might not be feasible,” Ramsey said, noting that the complex has deteriorated in its condition. “All options are on the table.”

Reach Max Marcus at or 413-930-4231.


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