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Breathing New Life into Waterbury, CT

The Transformation of Brownfields

In Waterbury, CT, a remarkable transformation is underway. Once abandoned and contaminated properties are being revitalized into vibrant community assets, breathing new life into the city. Waterbury, with its rich industrial history, has faced significant challenges due to numerous sites left blighted by past manufacturing activities.

However, these brownfields are now becoming catalysts for economic rejuvenation and neighborhood revitalization through dedicated cleanup and redevelopment efforts.

The projects in Waterbury are turning former industrial sites into new housing developments, commercial spaces, and public parks. These efforts not only address environmental hazards but also boost local economies. One of the most exciting aspects of this redevelopment is the creation of new public spaces. Formerly unusable lands are now beautiful parks and recreational areas, providing residents with places to gather, relax, and enjoy the outdoors. 

According to the Waterbury Observer, the following projects are currently underway or recently funded and are in the planning phase:

  • Amanet: The site of the first brass factory in Waterbury more than 200 years ago. The site has been mostly unused since 2003, but 698 South Main Street Inc. (under WDC) has sought proposals from developers, and a committee is currently reviewing the applications.

  • Nova Dye: The ball field project on Mill Street at the site of the old Nova Dye and Print is expected to break ground this October, and be ready for baseball in the Spring on 2024.

  • Freight Street: Bike and pedestrian paths have already been installed along Freight Street. An abandoned building will be demolished to make way for a major new development that can be a reimagined portion of downtown with a mix of business and housing just minutes walking distance from the train station.

  • West Main Street Corridor Revitalization: a complete overhaul of West Main Street from the Green out to Thomaston Avenue.

  • Jackson Street Riverfront Park: converts 9 acres of vacant brownfield land into a new riverfront park directly along the Naugatuck River. This would enable the creation of green space, an environmental justice & equity issue in the South End of Waterbury.

The redevelopment of brownfields in Waterbury is a win-win for the environment and the economy. By addressing environmental issues, the city is creating healthier living conditions for its residents. Simultaneously, the economic benefits are substantial, with new businesses setting up shop and bringing employment opportunities to the area.

Waterbury's success story serves as an inspiring example for other towns facing similar challenges. By reclaiming and repurposing its brownfields, Waterbury is rediscovering its potential and paving the way for a sustainable and prosperous future. This transformation highlights the power of community effort and the positive impact that thoughtful redevelopment can have on a city.

Other parts of Connecticut are also active in the redevelopment of brownfields, Last week, Governor Ned Lamont announced the approval of a series of state grants totaling $26.3 million.  These grants will be used to support the remediation and redevelopment of 130 acres of contaminated land throughout Connecticut, consisting of 22 properties located in 17 towns and cities. The funds will support the communities with the costs of cleaning up these properties so they can be redeveloped and put back into productive use to support economic growth and housing needs.

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