By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — Borough officials plan to use its American Rescue Plan funds on infrastructure improvements.
Naugatuck received the first half of its $9.2 million ARP funds in June and will receive the second $4.6 million in next June. Local officials will have to spend all of the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds by the end of 2023, according to Controller Allyson Bruce.
ARP funds can be used to support public health expenditures, address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, replace lost public sector revenue, provide premium pay for essential workers and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure according to U.S. Department of the Treasury website.
The borough has hired an engineer to identify the magnitude of what Naugatuck needs and what officials can do to prepare a formal project, according to Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess.
“The storm water system at downtown Naugatuck is not adequate, not only for our future projects but our existing conditions,” Hess said.
Naugatuck was one of the first municipalities to have a sanitary and storm water system in the state. Many of its pipes go back to the 1880s, according to Hess.
Hess said the borough’s sanitary systems are inadequate as well. The funds will be used to repair or replace pipes and other components of its infrastructure. Once officials know how much that will cost, they will decide what to do with the remaining funds, Hess added.
“A new system will not only solve existing problems, but pave the way for new developments,” Hess said.
The infrastructure upgrades will also focus on downtown, Parcel B, the vacant lot at the corner of Maple Street and Old Firehouse Road and the greenway from the Maple Street Bridge all the way to Breen Field. In addition there will be improved streetscape and an upgrade to the look of downtown according to Hess.
“There’s really no point in building new structures and expanding unless your infrastructure is solid,” Hess said. “We have weaknesses in our infrastructure and this funding is extremely helpful in that regard.”
The infrastructure funds will upgrade some roads including Millville Avenue, Terrace Avenue, Meadow Street, Church Street, Maple Street, Old Firehouse Road and Water Street, according to Hess.
Hess said the infrastructure improvements will ultimately allow the borough to build and expand more to generate new revenue and reduce the tax burden on residents.
“It’s money that will benefit long into the future,” Hess said.