Chugging along: Naugatuck train station project receives state funding

NAUGATUCK, CT — Rendering images, looking north, of the proposed relocation of the train station on Parcel B, known as the vacant lot a the corner of Maple Street and Old Firehouse Road. CONTRIBUTED

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — The new proposed borough train station is tracking along with financial support from the state.

The state Department of Transportation has allocated funding for the relocation of the Naugatuck train station from Water Street near The Station Restaurant to Parcel B, the vacant lot at the corner of Maple Street and Old Firehouse Road. The 7.75 acres of land is owned by the borough. It has not been determined the exact amount of funds from the state, according to Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess.

Borough officials crafted and sent out a request for proposal, which is part of the downtown revitalization and transit oriented development project for the borough.

The borough is seeking to partner with a qualified development team. The developer would purchase Parcel B and be responsible for the permitting, design and construction of a mixed use Transit Oriented Development project. The developer would be responsible for financing the project and selling or leasing constructed facilities. The project will include residential and commercial uses, but must have a large residential component designed primarily for people with low space requirement. The building can go in the range of six stories high, the RFP states.

The vacant lot at the corner of Maple Street and Old Firehouse Road in Naugatuck, known as Parcel B, is shown in January. Borough officials expect responses for request for proposals for a developer to build a transit-oriented development on the site in April. ANDREAS YILMA

The borough plans to build a greenway from the Maple Street Bridge to Breen Field along the eastside of the Naugatuck River. Officials envision a pedestrian bridge that would connect the eastside of the river as well as the greenway to Parcel B and downtown. Parcel B adjoins the Waterbury Branch Line adjacent to the location of the new train platform to be relocated by DOT, according to the RFP.

The state is proceeding with the project and plans to start construction in June 2023. The new proposed train platform will be elevated and the state will further develop Water Street into the site, according to Hess.

“The state is paying for the construction of Water Street, the train platform relocation and the Naugatuck train station which will have steps, an escalator and an elevator going up to the train platform,” Hess said at the Board of Mayor and Burgesses meeting last week.

Borough officials have sent out a RFP last month to over 100 companies, as well as running a full-page advertisement in New England and New York real estate journals, Hess said.

The borough recently had a site tour where 10 companies participated. Officials hope to get a response to the RFP in late April, according to Hess.

“We’re going to have the input from others, planning commission, zoning commission,” Hess said at the meeting. “We’re going to pick a plan and a concept and a vision.”

The borough will put together a team for the project that will have Deputy Mayor Robert A. Neth and one more burgess that will be selected, according to Hess.

NAUGATUCK, CT — Rendering images, looking south, of the proposed relocation of the train station on Parcel B, known as the vacant lot a the corner of Maple Street and Old Firehouse Road. CONTRIBUTED

Borough officials plan to create an overlay zone to define the rules for the project, according to Hess.

An overlay zone is a set of zoning requirements that is described in the ordinance text, is mapped, and is imposed in addition to those of the underlying district. Developments within the overlay zone must conform to the requirements of both zones or the more restrictive of the two. It is usually employed to deal with special physical characteristics according to the borough’s zoning regulations.

The borough currently doesn’t have any overlay zones according to Town Planner Lori Rotella.

“We’re going to design an overlay zone that will accommodate exactly what we like, from an architectural standpoint, a size standpoint, a use standpoint,” Hess said during the meeting.

The state is going to build the train station and platform and develop Water Street while the developer would build everything else, which remains to be seen from the expected RFP responses, according to Hess.

“We’re going to select the best proposal on the rest of the land,” Hess said subsequently.