Grant to aid in clean up of GDC property


The General DataComm building in downtown Naugatuck. –RA ARCHIVE
The General DataComm building in downtown Naugatuck. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation has received a $975,000 state grant for remediation work on the General DataComm property.

“It’s a commitment by our state partners, that they realize the importance of the land that’s located directly in our urban core,” Mayor Robert Mezzo said.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved buying the property for $2 million during a special meeting in December. The property, located at 6 Rubber Ave., is two parcels that combined are nearly 12 acres in downtown Naugatuck.

The property is believed by officials to be the key to Naugatuck’s downtown revival. The land was the cornerstone of the Renaissance Place project, but developer Alexius Conroy couldn’t get the project off the ground.

Due to the property’s prior use by the former Uniroyal company, there is a certain amount of remediation that needs to be done.

Officials have identified $2.4 million worth of remediation that will need to take place regardless of how the property is developed.

Environmental assessments have shown contamination in the property’s northwest corner, near Old Firehouse Road, and near the pump house, Mezzo said.

The grant, which comes from the state’s brownfield remediation program, will go towards the parts of the property that need remediation regardless of what they are used for under when the site is redeveloped, Mezzo said.

“This will make the site more marketable for private developers,” Mezzo said.

Naugatuck was not the only municipality to receive funds from the state to help clean up a brownfield site.

Gov. Dannel Malloy and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith announced the grants Monday. Bridgeport, Newington, North Haven, Plainville and Trumbull were awarded grants as well for a total of $6.5 million.

“State and local governments can and should work together to restore blighted properties — sites that have tremendous potential for commerce, housing and retail that will create jobs,” Malloy said in a press release.

The grant for Naugatuck was lauded by local lawmakers. State representatives Rosa Rebimbas (R-70) and David Labriola (R-131) both thanked the Governor and Smith for the grant.

“I would like to thank Gov. Malloy and Commissioner Smith for their commitment to brownfield redevelopment,” Rebimbas said. “These funds will be helpful in the transition of the future economic state or our borough.”

Mezzo said he believes one of the reasons the NEDC received the grant is the project represents exactly what the state is looking to do right now.

“I think that the state is, because of the economic times, prioritizing projects based on will they create jobs and tax revenue. Clearly the potential for doing that on parcels A, B, and C is very large because of the central location, access to the highway and railway, and proximity to river,” Mezzo said.

NEDC Chairman Jay Carlson and NEDC CEO Dave Prendergast could not be reached for comment as of this post.