There was a question at the Danbury City Council meeting last month about accepting a $1.3 million state grant to demolish and remediate the former Mallory Hat Factory on Rose Hill Avenue. The Council accepted the grant.
The 3.7-acre site will be given to the Women's Center of Greater Danbury for $1. The organization plans to turn the property into a residential facility for women and children in transition.
The question came up over $130,000 from the City, which the Council hadn't signed off on. It was clarified that the money is the value of City services such as staff reviewing plans and overseeing elements of the project.
The Women's Center hired an environmental engineer to assess the property, and it was determined that the clean up will cost $700,00 to $800,000. Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola will oversee and manage the clean up. Once it's certified for use, the City can transfer the property to the Women's Center.
The Women's Center raised $4 million in capital fund to build the transitional housing. The group has provided a safe haven to victims of domestic and sexual violence since its founding in 1975. The Center serves 20,000 people in northern Fairfield and southern Litchfield Counties each year.
Governor Dannel Malloy says brownfield sites have been vacant for decades and cause blight in neighborhoods, drain local resources, and have a negative impact on municipalities. For every dollar the state has invested in brownfield redevelopment, non-state partners have invested or will invest $11.41. Since 2012, the State of Connecticut has invested more than $220 million in brownfield redevelopment, resulting in the creation of more than 3,000 permanent jobs and over 15,000 construction jobs in the state.
Mayor Mark Boughton believes a viaduct under the property is near 100 years old. He says no business is likely to be interested in the land because they wouldn't be able to build over that structure. The viaduct limits the build-ability to about 2.5 acres. Danbury issued several requests for proposals from businesses over the years, but there weren't any takers. At one point, the owner of nearby Fairfield Processing asked the City to hold off on looking into bids because they were thinking about expanding. Those plans have since changed because their business changed.