Beacon falls looking into new train station: Partnership would include Seymour

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A Metro-North train arrives at the Naugatuck train station in April 2016. Citizen’s News archive

BEACON FALLS — Town officials are looking into a public-private partnership to build a joint train station for Beacon Falls and Seymour on 220 acres in both towns.

The area includes from Route 42 and Breault Road in Beacon Falls to Route 67 and Stop & Shop in Seymour.

The Board of Selectmen and Planning and Zoning Commission held a special meeting Dec. 21 with members of Haynes Group of Oxford, which manages and develops both residential and commercial properties.

“Our plan is to build a transportation oriented development with the concept of combining both train stations into one, somewhere centrally located,” Haynes Group President Thomas Haynes said, according to meeting minutes. “Right now, a concept. We want to work with both towns, both Planning and Zoning boards. (It) creates a lot of opportunities for both towns.”

Haynes said his company has developed Quarry Walk in Oxford, a mixed used development. It sits on 30 acres and includes a grocery market, pharmacy, bank, mixed retail, variety of restaurants, community green, post office, 1.5 miles of walking trails and 150 residential units. About 1500-2000 jobs were created and the development is generating $1 million dollars in net revenue to Oxford.

This project will put Beacon Falls on the map, First Selectman Gerard Smith said at the meeting.

Gerard Smith. Archive

”We’re in the very, very early stages of this project,” Selectman Michael A. Krenesky said subsequently. “It’s as much concept as it is reality.”

”I think this would be a complete game changer for the area,” Naugatuck Valley Regional Development Corporation CEO Thomas Hyde said according to meeting minutes. “This is the best project in the Valley.”

Haynes said this project could easily be a $3 million to $500 million private investment in the area.

Krenesky said the funding for the whole project is still a work in progress.

Smith has sent a letter on behalf of the town to the state Department of Economic and Community Development stating support for the NVRDC’s application for a CT Community Challenge Grant. The letter states the funds would help secure private investment that will exceed $200 million for the first phase of the project.

The state grant program is an effort to improve livability, vibrancy and appeal of the communities and is intended to possibly create 3,000 new jobs. The DECD has a goal to allocate up to 50% of the funds to eligible and competitive projects. Successful projects will include transit oriented development, essential infrastructure, housing mobility improvements and public space improvements according to the DECD website.

The first part of project would be installing a road to connect to Route 42 and Route 67, Krenesky said.

Haynes said a road would open the 220 acres for development. If the grant is approved, the group would start engineering and he would like the road work to start next year, if possible, according to meeting minutes.

It was an informational meeting and no applications have been submitted to any boards or commissions, according to Krenesky.

The Board of Selectmen and the Planning and Zoning Commission both approved to move forward with the letter of support for the Community Challenge Grant.

“It’s just a huge economic boom for the town,” Krenesky said.