Naugatuck submits development plan

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NAUGATUCK — In order for people to decide if they want to help you, they must first know what you’re planning to do.
For this reason, Connecticut General Statues Sec. 8-186 requires municipalities to develop a Municipal Development Plan in conjunction with any and all redevelopment projects.

The Borough of Naugatuck informed the state exactly what its plan is for the downtown redevelopment project known as Renaissance Place in a Municipal Development Plan submitted to the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development last month.

A typical Municipal Development Plan outlines all aspects of a project including land use, growth, development and conservation. It articulates a concrete representation of the future community and expresses each its vision and values.

The document is important in laying out the structure of the project. It also, if approved, allows municipalities to apply for various grants through state and federal appropriating bodies.

“This plan is big for multiple reasons,” said Dave Prendergast, the CEO of the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation. “It’s key to setting the framework for development and mapping out the plan. With the plan in place it also puts us in position to apply for governmental funding and apply for certain things, which we will be doing.”

The plan, which was submitted by the NEDC, will now face several stages of deliberation and critique. According to Prendergast, the plan has already undergone an initial review by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).

The plan will now be submitted to every state agency having any connection to the project. The agencies will analyze the plan and offer feedback on it. Once this feedback is collected, the DECD will provide written comments to be sent to the NEDC.

At this point, a public hearing will be scheduled to obtain input from local citizens. A final version, which will need to be approved by the NEDC board of directors and the Board of Mayor and Burgesses, is then formed. The entire process, Prendergast estimated, should take about three months.

The plan needs to reach approval at every level for it to be accepted, but Prendergast feels this should not be a problem.

“The NEDC is very comfortable with the plan and I’m very optimistic about its approval,” Prendergast said. “The support has been there for the downtown project for a while. I think people know it’s very important to the overall economic future and job creation in Naugatuck.”

As important as Renaissance Place is to the future of Naugatuck, the Municipal Development Plan may be equally as important in obtaining enough funding to get the project off the ground.

“It’s a huge step.” Naugatuck Mayoral Assistant Edward Carter said. “It lets everyone know this is what we plan on doing and gives the state and everyone else an appropriate idea so we can get going on things.”

The legwork in drafting the plan has taken several months and significant hours have been dedicated to working out every concern previous to the document’s submission.

“There’s been a lot of time and effort put into this document,” Mayor Robert Mezzo said. “We needed to address and deal with many complex issues. We are very hopeful that there will be approval.”