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Bond Commission Grants $2M For Downtown Ansonia

The state’s bond commission approved $2 million for the former site of Ansonia Copper and Brass on Friday, part of an overall $1.1 billion package the governor said was made possible by low interest rates.

When Ansonia was added to the bonding list, Rep. Kara Rochelle posted a Facebook video saying the funds “[come] directly on the heels of securing a million dollars to remediate a brownfield site adjacent to the Ansonia brass site.”

Prior to this month, Ansonia had about $600,000 to remediate and demolish another brownfield in downtown. Then in early July, a state fund for brownfield remediation provided an additional $1 million to the city.

Those funds will be used to demolish buildings and remediate brownfields in downtown Ansonia, including the former sites of Ansonia Copper and Brass and the Farrel Foundry and Machine Co.

In total, the city has $3.6 million from state bonding and a special state fund for brownfields to clean up the downtown sites.

Steven Lanza, a UConn economics professor, says he’s seen enthusiasm from Ansonia leadership for economic redevelopment, and that might have served the city well when it came to getting on the governor’s bond list.

Lanza said when the state invests in a place like Ansonia, it’s “capitalizing on some existing energy, and this can just help to leverage and move this thing forward.”

He compares it to the wave at a baseball game. It’s easier to do the wave when the whole stadium is involved, but when just one section wants to get it started, it takes a lot more energy to build that momentum.

He said that in a growth-focused place like Ansonia, cleaning up these brownfield sites could remove a big roadblock to rebuilding the downtown.

Copyright 2021 Connecticut Public

Ali Oshinskie is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Ali reports on the Naugatuck River Valley with an emphasis on work, economic development, and opportunity in the Valley. Her work has appeared on NPR, Marketplace, and The Hartford Courant.