NAUGATUCK — The borough may take ownership of the former Uniroyal Chemical Co. property along the Naugatuck River that has sat vacant for decades.
On Tuesday, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses voted 8-0 to approve spending $782,601 that will go toward studies and possibly purchasing property, including 86 acres of former Uniroyal property that is now owned by Chemtura Corp.
Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the borough will hire a licensed environmental professional to determine what can be done with the Chemtura property, as well as other properties around town. Officials will look for property around Naugatuck, possibly at Chemtura or at other locations, to put a second industrial park.
Hess declined to say what other properties the borough is looking at aside from the former Uniroyal site for another industrial park. He said the borough is still in negotiations with the property owners.
The borough’s industrial park is filled and there are no flat parcels left, said Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Ron Pugliese. He believes Naugatuck can fill another industrial park.
Hess said part of what will be explored is whether officials can build a fuel cell park to provide energy to properties in a new industrial park. Hess has said he wants to use that type of project to help provide energy for the wastewater treatment plant, which is also located near the Chemtura property.
The money will come from the undesignated fund balance of the general fund. Among the allowable uses for the money include: acquisition of land; environmental remediation; site assessment; site improvement; infrastructure improvement; demolition; alteration; remodeling; repair or reconstruction of existing building structures; along with all fees and costs including but not limited to planning, engineering, architectural, legal, financing and accounting expenses.
Controller Robert Butler said the $782,601 is left over from money set aside for work on three properties around the borough. The remaining money is now available to be used how the borough sees fit, he said.
“Since those three sites are completed and done and have gone beyond five years we are in good shape to do this,” Butler said.
Hess said the money will be put not only toward the Chemtura property, but also land tracts downtown along Old Firehouse Road known as parcels A and B, the former Armory building on Rubber Avenue, and other potential new sites for an industrial park.
“We are pursuing all of those areas full speed ahead,” Hess said.
Burgess Dorothy Hoff asked whether Hess would have to check with the board before the money is spent.
“I mean, I don’t want you coming back every time you want to spend $5, but would we know ahead of time when the money will be used,” Hoff asked.
Hess said he planned to bring each of the projects before the board before he spent any money on them.
“I do intend to come and discuss everything we do as we do it,” Hess said.
Luke Marshall contributed to this article.