Historical society, NEDC preparing to leave train station
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the print version to include new information about the proposed sale of the former train station on Water Street that was resolved after press time.
NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck Historical Society Museum volunteers Mary Doback and Sandra Clark we’re packing up and documenting historic books last week at the museum on Water Street.
The two weren’t cleaning up from a recent exhibit, rather Doback and Clark were preparing for a move.
“Right now we are boxing and cataloging everything,” said Naugatuck Historical Society President Ken Hanks, who is also the borough’s fire chief.
Borough officials were working on a deal to sell the former train station building, which houses the museum and the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation office, to Trumbull resident Umberto Morale.
Morale had offered the borough $400,000 to buy the building at 195 Water St., and planned to turn it into a restaurant.
On Thursday, NEDC President and CEO Ron Pugliese said that proposal is no longer on the table. He said Morale found a different location, which isn’t in Naugatuck, to open a restaurant in a building that was move-in ready.
It was expected to cost about $500,000 to convert the former train station into a restaurant.
Pugliese said the building remains for sale.
The historical society and NEDC are still preparing to move out of the train station, despite the deal falling through with Morale.
“Originally we were thinking we would move out by June 1. Now I’m thinking we’ll move out some time in June. We’ll be out of here, unless something happens that I don’t foresee, by July 1,” Pugliese said last week.
Hanks said most of the artifacts from the museum will be stored in the borough-owned General DataComm building for now.
“We have a secure storage unit there,” Hanks said.
Hanks said the move is going slowly for the historical society.
“There’s a lot of stuff to move and we don’t have a lot of help. There is lots of stuff to box up,” Hanks said. “We hope to be out of here sometime in June.”
The final plan for the museum and the NEDC is to end up together again at the Tuttle Building, 380 Church St., which currently houses the Board of Education offices.
However, there is a lot of work to be done before that happens.
First, the ongoing renovations at Naugatuck High School need to be completed, which will allow the Board of Education to move from the Tuttle Building to its new home at the high school. The move is expected to take place later this year.
Renovations will have to be done at the Tuttle Building once it’s vacant.
Hanks said three architectural firms came in to look at the Tuttle Building last week. He expects them to submit bids by the end of May. Once the work actually starts on the Tuttle Building, it should take a year or a little longer to complete, Hanks said.
In the meantime, the historical society plans to move the museum into a temporary location on Church Street. Hanks said the society is still in negotiations for the space and declined to say more about the location.
Hanks said the historical society will primarily keep its genealogical records, such as family documents and yearbooks, at the temporary location.
“We get a lot of calls for research for family history,” Hanks said.
If the historical society needs anything beyond what it is located at the temporary location volunteers can retrieve it from storage, Hanks said.
The NEDC will find a temporary home at the Ion Bank Foundation’s building at 270 Church St. The building, which used to house the Ion Insurance Corp., will house a community center and offices for the Naugatuck YMCA, and United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls.
“At this point it seems that will be temporary and we will end up at the Tuttle Building, but who knows how long the whole project is going to take,” Pugliese said.