By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
BEACON FALLS — Beacon Falls and Seymour have jointly applied for a state grant to develop an access road with business and residential space between Route 42 and Route 67 that could include one centrally located train station.
The Beacon Falls Board of Selectmen Oct. 6 unanimously approved applying for a Connecticut Communities Challenge grant from the Department of Economics and Community Development for “a new access drive between Route 42 in Beacon Falls and Route 67 in Seymour,” First Selectman Gerard Smith said from the resolution at the special meeting. “The project will include all new public and private utilities to service the proposed private development of the 223 acres of current vacant and unutilized land.”
Beacon Falls had previously applied for the grant, which ranges from $1 million to $10 million, through the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments and was unsuccessful. This time, the town has partnered with Seymour to seek the competitive grant, Smith noted.
Seymour Chief Administrative Officer Rory Burke said the Board of Selectmen in that town approved the resolution Oct. 4.
The Beacon Falls Board of Selectmen and Planning and Zoning Commission previously held a special meeting in December 2021 with members of Haynes Group from Oxford, which manages and develops residential and commercial properties. Haynes Group President Thomas Haynes previously said the plan is to combine the train stations in Beacon Falls and Seymour into one that is centrally located.
Smith said the DECD grant would be for the road because it is the first step in getting the overall development rolling.
“The development is more than the train station,” Smith said after the meeting. “That whole development between Route 42 and the bridge and (Route) 67 is going to be a couple million square feet of office, commercial and residential space. It’s going to be a city in between the two towns. … There would be a train station in the middle, but the anchor is the road.”
The area also can be developed without the proposed train station, Smith added.
“The multiphased project will not only benefit the two applicant communities,” Smith said from the resolution, “it will further aid in the economic development of the Naugatuck Valley communities.”
Smith said town officials will know in the next three months if they will receive the grant.