NAUGATUCK — The borough and Waterbury plan to work together to bring more industries to their respective municipalities.
The plan is to turn a vacant, roughly 162-acre parcel of land that straddles the Naugatuck-Waterbury line into an industrial park. The land in Naugatuck is 55 acres at the end of Great Hill Road and owned by Waterbury, which purchased it in 1987 and pays taxes on it.
Over the past 40 years, a shopping center, rock quarry, casino and IMAX theater, and dog racing track have all been proposed for the parcel. However, a steep, rocky hill where a road would be excavated in Waterbury made that prohibitively expensive.
“What kept killing the viability of all of that is it would take a tremendous amount of site work to come in off of Baldwin Street,” Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary said.
Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the borough may have the solution to Waterbury’s problem.
“There is a potential access through Naugatuck, which would essentially be an extension through Great Hill Road in our industrial park,” Hess said.
In order to access the land and extend Great Hill Road, Naugatuck and Waterbury would need to purchase a 10.5 acre parcel of property where the road ends.
Naugatuck and The Waterbury Development Corp. have agreed to purchase property from Michael Devino for $390,000, splitting the cost.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses last week authorized Hess to enter into an agreement with Waterbury on the project. The towns expect to close on the property in the next month or two.
The two towns plan to apply for a state grant to extend Great Hill Road, along with the water, sewer and utilities, through the property and into Waterbury. They will also apply for reimbursement for the purchase price of the property.
A preliminary plan calls for a nine-lot industrial park on the land with five lots in Naugatuck and four in Waterbury.
Although Waterbury owns the land in Naugatuck, the borough would collect taxes on the development on the lots within its borders.
Hess pointed out that the borough has just a couple of spots left in its industrial park and has been unable to sell them because the topography of the land is not ideal for building.
“The feeling is, with a very minor investment, we can have five more industrial lots with good topography for sale in Naugatuck,” Hess said.
Burgess Rocky Vitale agreed.
“I think for a very small investment this is going to be a lot of gain. Not only is it going to bring businesses to town, but it cuts taxes for residents,” Vitale said.
Details of how the project will move forward will be ironed out in the agreement between the two municipalities.
“We look it as an incredible opportunity to create jobs, grow the grand list, and bring more companies into that industrial park,” O’Leary said.
The Republican-American contributed to this article.