Board OKs asbestos abatement at event center

NAUGATUCK — The borough is moving forward with cleaning asbestos from areas in the Naugatuck Event Center, as well as a former pump house and underground vault near the building.

At its Oct. 1 meeting, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses awarded a contract to Northeast Environmental of Naugatuck to do the abatement at the event center on Rubber Avenue.

The borough received a $100,000 hazardous abatement grant from the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments for the work. Northeast Environmental bid $46,000 for the job, and $11,000 will be spent on a licensed environmental protection engineer to oversee the project. Officials decided to use the remaining $43,000 in the grant for further abatement work at the event center.

“We can utilize the grant to remove more additional asbestos that we have identified,” Public Works Director James Stewart said.

Northeast Environmental will inspect the event center, and the former Uniroyal pump house and underground vault. The waste management company will clean asbestos from the kitchen sink in the gym room, floor tiles, piping, and throughout the fourth floor, officials said.

Stewart expected the work to be complete within 90 days.

The borough purchased the former General DataComm building, which is now the event center, and adjacent parking lot for $2 million in 2013. Plans with developers for the land have fallen through over the years, and officials created the event center to host events and attract people to downtown.

The plan is to eventually develop the property, known locally as parcels A and B, into a transit-oriented development with a mix of commercial and residential uses. Officials have said the plan relies on the state making improvements to the Waterbury branch of the Metro-North Railroad to provide more frequent and reliable service.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the abatement work will allow the borough to use more of the event center. The fourth floor hasn’t been used since the 1950s, he said. There are no official plans for the fourth floor, once the asbestos is removed.

The former pump house will eventually be demolished when plans move forward to develop the land, Hess said, and the abatement work is a necessary step before it’s demolished.