The money, announced recently by state officials, is being award to the municipalities through the Department of Economic and Community Development Brownfield Area-Wide Revitalization (BAR) Grant program, a pilot program Gov. Dannel Malloy signed into law last summer.
The program aims to encourage communities to consider areas like neighborhoods, downtowns, waterfronts and other sections that have multiple brownfields and strategize ways to assess, remediate and reuse them in ways that would revitalize the areas.
—$200,000 for comprehensive planning of the Silver Lane Corridor in East Hartford, including identifying and studying redevelopment potential of certain brownfield sites.
—$200,000 for detailed site planning and redevelopment, environmental analyses, and identification of a master developer for potential transit-oriented development sites around the East Main Street CTfastrak station in New Britain.
—$200,000 for an implementation plan to redevelop the easternmost corridor of Route 1, known as Mariner’s Way, in Old Saybrook into a boulevard of marine and recreation uses.
—$200,000 to establish and implement a redevelopment strategy, supported by market area analyses and community outreach, along the east and west branches of the Naugatuck River in Torrington.
—$140,000 to develop a strategy to improve the Mad River Redevelopment Corridor in Waterbury’s south end, focusing on five brownfield sites.
—$100,000 to complete a retail, arts and cultural plan for the Transit Oriented Development District in Meriden, which includes 35 brownfield sites.
Brownfields refer to properties that, typically, previously were used for industrial purposes and are contaminated with hazardous materials.
Remediating such sites throughout the state will spur job creation and improve quality of life, according to Malloy.
“If we are to build more vibrant communities, if we are to make Connecticut the most competitive in the region for business, then we need to tackle brownfields,” he said in a statement. “That’s why we’ve invested an extraordinary amount in redeveloping otherwise unusable sites.”
The pilot program, he added, “is rewarding the communities that are prepared to undertake major developments for blighted areas. The municipalities chosen have demonstrated that they are committed and willing to strategically transform their communities.”
BAR Grants are awarded in amounts up to $200,000 per grant, through a competitive process. The money can be used for “community visioning” processes, market studies, mapping, inventory, infrastructure and streetscape planning, and conceptual designs, according to DECD.
A requirement of the program is that any municipality receiving a grant must set up an advisory or steering committee of public and private stakeholders. The committee must be in place throughout the planning phases and implementation of any projects.
Comprehensive planning is key to any brownfield revitalization effort, said DECD Deputy Commissioner Tim Sullivan.
“We are excited to partner with these six cities and towns over the next two years to develop specific, actionable plans that will clean up multiple brownfields, leverage private investment and bring jobs and new economic activity to long-dormant corridors throughout the state,” he said in a statement.
If successful, the pilot program has the potential to help cities and town statewide, according to state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Rob Klee.
“Many cities and towns across Connecticut are burdened by multiple brownfields in an area or neighborhood,” he said in a statement. “These grants will help cities and towns to consider brownfield redevelopment in a holistic manner that protects human health and the environment and considers what is best for a neighborhood and its residents.”