WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterbury is getting millions of dollars in state grant money to clean up two former factory sites. That announcement coming Thursday morning from Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz.
Years ago, 130 Freight Street in Waterbury was the Anaconda American Brass plant. It was one of the reasons Waterbury was famous as the Brass City. Now, however, it is a pile of rubble.
“We’re here to announce another substantial step in Waterbury’s reinvention,” Bysiewicz said.
The Lieutenant Governor was here before, announcing the money to tear down 9 buildings on the 14 acre site, but there is still a lot more to do.
“Following the decline of the brass industry, this site housed a hazardous waste treatment and storage facility and, for the past several decades, was an environmental hazard,” Bysiewicz explained.
Now, $2 million more in state grant money will help the city tear up the foundation and start testing the soil to see how much cleanup needs to be done. Mayor Neil O’Leary says it’s a daunting task, but necessary.
“If we don’t do this, it’s never going to get done, “ said O’Leary. “So, the truth is it sat here a terrible, blighted piece of property for 50 plus years.”
On South Main Street, $4 million in state money will go to help another brownfield site, this one the former Anamet property. 17 riverfront acres there. The state is in the process of spending $19 million to cleanup 31 brownfields like these in 23 cities and towns. The projection is, they will get eight times that amount back when the properties are cleaned up and made into something new.
“I see opportunities to finally turn the corner and actually start finally turning these brown fields into that is usable, something that the municipalities can be proud of,” said State Rep. Geraldo Reyes, Jr. (D – Waterbury).
The property on Freight Street will be mixed use, with the potential for residences, as well. There’s a lot of excitement about people living here because it’s just a short walk to the train station, and easy access to Route 8. They hope to get shovels in the ground by September.