State funding has arrived to redevelop U.S. Rubber, Uniroyal site

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BY STEVE BIGHAM

CITIZEN’S NEWS

NAUGATUCK — State and local officials gathered at the former Uniroyal Chemical/United States Rubber Co. complex Friday to celebrate the recent awarding of $3 million in state aid to support the ongoing redevelopment of the 86-acre site, which has been dormant for more than 20 years.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess III said the Community Investment Fund dollars will be used to advance Phase III of the Naugatuck Industrial Park project, specifically the construction of permanent and temporary access roads into the property at 280 Elm St.

The borough is looking to transform the 86-acre property for light industrial and commercial use, which already has piqued the attention of several interested parties, due in part to its ideal location in the Naugatuck Valley along Route 8 and the railroad, Hess noted.

The borough is overseeing the project as part of a development permit that gives it 10 years for completion.

As part of the deal, Naugatuck is expected to match those state funds with complementary actions at the site, including demolition of remaining foundations, drainage improvements and mass earthwork/soil management to prepare the site for construction.

The first two phases of the project involved environmental remediation of the site, much of which was done and paid for by Uniroyal.

“We are now beginning the development phase … and the CIF fund is giving us the ability to start now. We’re ready to go. We’re starting this year and it’s extremely exciting,” Hess said, acknowledging the help of state Sens. Joan V. Hartley and Jorge Cabrera, and Reps. David K. Labriola and Seth Bronko, most of whom attended Friday’s news conference.

Hartley said the CIF program’s purpose is to improve urban, underserved areas in Connecticut where immediate investments are needed to “leverage our opportunity for economic development and raise the quality of life in the community. That’s exactly what this Naugatuck project is all about.”