BY STEVE BIGHAM
SEYMOUR — U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3rd District, on Tuesday announced the acquisition of $3 million in federal funds for the continued revitalization of the Naugatuck Valley, specifically Beacon Falls and Seymour.
DeLauro joined state and local officials to celebrate the news at Seymour Town Hall.
The funds will help support construction of a 2-mile connector road to access a large stretch of privately owned property along Route 8 and the Waterbury rail line, one of the last pieces of undeveloped land in the Naugatuck River corridor.
The roadway would connect Route 67 in Seymour with Route 42 in Beacon Falls along the Naugatuck River Greenway. The access road also would lead to the 220-acre parcel of undeveloped land, owned by Haynes Construction and Real Estate Corp. of Seymour. Their vision is to transform the area into a housing, commercial, medical and light-industrial hub.
Haynes officials say the massive project would be similar to what the company created at Quarry Walk in Oxford, a 30-acre former quarry site that has since been developed into a popular living and shopping destination. It created more than 2,000 jobs and generates as much as $2 million annually in local tax revenue.
Haynes President Tom Haynes said his company purchased the property 20 years ago with a long-term dream of turning it into a revenue generator that also helps people and transforms Naugatuck Valley. The vision in Beacon Falls and Seymour includes establishing a new railway station, making the area more accessible to train service.
Rick Dunne of the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments said rail is the least expensive, most efficient way to move people through Naugatuck Valley and into places such as Fairfield County and New Haven.
“If we have to build and expand highways to get this done, it’s tens of billions more (dollars),” Dunne said. “Concentrating density around rails that allows for mixed-income neighborhoods and mixed-use development is the most important thing we can do to promote growth in Connecticut.”
DeLauro said the “critical funding” will help create what she called a unique, transit-oriented development, bringing in hundreds of jobs and much-needed housing, both market-rate and affordable.
“An economic generator for the entire valley — it will be a springboard for what is the largest public-private partnership in the valley,” DeLauro said.
She noted the connector road and accompanying infrastructure will be completed with no increase in local property taxes.
“This plays an extraordinary role in allowing projects to get done that would never get done because of the economic consequences,” said DeLauro.
, who this past session of Congress acquired a $26.9 million for her district, .which consists of Naugatuck Valley and Greater New Haven.
Bill Purcell, president of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce, said, “This project is going to help remediate the legacy of our industrial past and clean it up for new development.”