Greater Waterbury area hoping for economic rebirth with governor’s proposed investment in Waterbury rail line

New Haven

ANSONIA, Conn. (WTNH) — Ansonia Mayor David Cassetti was like a proud tour guide, showing off his city’s downtown area and telling News 8 what the future may look like with more cash being infused into Metro North’s Waterbury Rail Line, which runs right through the heart of Ansonia.

He showed us new apartments under development down the street from City Hall.

“400 of them eventually with our shopping plaza and restaurants,” he said. “The train station is right across the street.”

Governor Lamont has proposed $1.2 million in his new biennial budget plan to increase the number of trains on the Waterbury line from 15 to 22 during weekday morning and evening peak hours.

Cities and towns along the route from Bridgeport to Waterbury hope it becomes the economic engine that breathes new life into their municipalities.

Like Ansonia, Naugatuck is already working on developing an ambitious project on property near the Town Hall and downtown business district.

“What we’re really looking to do is take all of the land that was formerly controlled by Uniroyal — right along the railroad — right along the river — and develop it into a mixed-use project,” said Naugatuck Mayor Pete Hess. “Which will be walkable, livable, sustainable and really, really help downtown Naugatuck.”

Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary says he’s already seeing the benefits of the new and improved line. He says it’s leading to an influx of New York City residents looking to get out of The Big Apple. They would catch the Waterbury line by transferring in Bridgeport and making their way up through the Naugatuck Valley.

“Thousands of people have moved into this area from New York City because of the pandemic,” he said.

He also says the new and improved Waterbury line also allows for more freight trains to come into the Naugatuck Valley region boosting business for companies in the region and the state, as well.

His fellow leaders in The Naugatuck Valley believe what’s good for The Valley is good for the entire state.

“The gold is in The Valley and what I mean by that is the gold is the available open, raw land right on the rail line which can be developed now and bring in new revenue, new buildings, new people living here,” Mayor Hess said.

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