Fifth District Congressional candidate Dan Roberti, foreground, tours a brownfields site at
Cherry Avenue and Maple Street in Waterbury with Kevin Taylor, senior project manager with the Waterbury Development Corporation. Mr. Roberti called attention to the sites on Earth Day, pointing to the need for cleanup and the opportunity for job creation that comes along with environmental remediation.
Democratic Congressional candidate Dan Roberti toured brownfields in the city for Earth Day and said help from the federal government with acquisition and remediation of the sites would make for a cleaner environment and provide a “feeder system of jobs” for years to come.
“Remediating contaminated properties creates jobs during the cleanup process, and more jobs when the properties are repositioned in the real estate market and sold to new businesses,” Mr. Roberti said. “It’s a way to bring back vitality to urban areas that have been hurt in the national economic turndown.”
Mr. Roberti pointed out that the 5th District is a diverse area, rich in natural resources and
unspoiled landscapes. “However, there is also a strong legacy of manufacturing in the district,
Waterbury’s brass industry being one segment,” he said. “Sadly, the decline in manufacturing
over the years has left behind many blighted and contaminated sites.”
Mr. Roberti toured the brownfields with Kevin Taylor, senior project manager with the
Waterbury Development Corporation. There are 30 known brownfields sites in the city,
according to Mr. Taylor
One site on the brownfields tour is located on the corner of Cherry Avenue and Maple Street.
Two old factories there are being demolished. One of the two buildings was an old paint factory; the other a manufacturing plant for metal products. Contamination on the site includes tanks filled with unknown chemicals and a lagoon used to dump toxins. This site is being remediated with a mix of federal and state funds.
“When these businesses on Maple Street were abandoned, city jobs were lost,” Mr. Roberti
said. “But by cleaning up this site and others like it, we can rebuild the city and the region.”
Another site, in the city’s North End, is being remediated with a grant from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency. Waterbury’s Police Athletic League is using the grant money
to create a community park at the Division Street site, which will feature athletic fields, picnic
areas and greenspace. “This is a great use of federal funds,” Mr. Roberti said.
The Earth Day tour of the city’s brownfield sites also included one old factory building along
the Mad River that was in operation as little as 12 years ago, but today sits abandoned, with its ownership in a legal quagmire. “In just over a decade, this site went from being a job provider to being an eyesore,” Mr. Roberti said.
“Let’s first address the environmental concerns associated with these properties,” Mr. Roberti urged. “Once made safe, let’s make them available for reuse, bringing new jobs and economic development to our 5th District.”