More to be done at Contract Plating site

Dozens of inquiries have been made about the former Contract Plating site since the town began remediating the area and clearing away its toxic history.

However, what ends up on the property is still unclear.

Stratford’s Office of Economic Development has fielded interest on the 10-acre plating site off Longbrook Avenue, said Amy Knorr, the town’s supervisor of economic development. While the current Town Council voted last week to authorize the town to sell the property, the authorization to market the property had been granted by the previous council in January 2015.

“We’ve gone to numerous, numerous different conferences all over promoting the property,” said Knorr, including meetings hosted by the state Department of Economic and Community Development. “We’ve gone to a lot of conferences in New York and New England promoting this property.”

Knorr said she’s had “a lot of interest” in the site. “Over the years since I’ve been here, I’ve brought a number of developers down there. International companies have come in and asked about it, doing industrial type of work,” she said.

The former plating buildings on the site were razed last summer. The town is paying for that with a $2.85-million state grant to pay for remediation of the site, including finding and dealing with hazardous materials.

The town will work in concert with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is working on remediating Raymark waste from areas all over town. That work will include dumping and capping waste at the neighboring Raymark ball field. The EPA plans to build a road off Longbrook Avenue along the Contract Plating site to reach the ball field, and that road will remain once all the work is completed. The goal is for both sites to be clean and clear by 2020.

A packet marketing the site features a conceptual drawing featuring four buildings on both the Contract Plating site and the Raymark ball field. Three of the buildings are on the Contract Plating side, and the Raymark site was suggested as the home for a new Department of Public Works headquarters. Knorr said the Contract Plating site will likely be used for industrial and/or commercial use, but more work needs to be done and a buyer would have to be selected before a final use could be developed. Currently, Tighe & Bond is doing environmental assessments to determine what’s on the site and how much it will take to clear it all out.

“Now it’s the ground that needs to be cleaned up,” said Economic Development Director Mary Dean. “It was over 50 years of Contract Plating there, and a lot of that’s in the ground.”

Knorr said there is about $1 million in DECD funding left after removal of the buildings. If more money is needed, the town will apply for grants to complete the cleanup, Knorr said.

Whoever purchases the site will dictate how much needs to be cleared. A residential use would require the town to do a more thorough clearing of the site, whereas an industrial use would require only capping the waste and putting more materials on top. There have been inquiries about using it for a Transit-Oriented Development project, but that would require more cleanup than an industrial use, Knorr said.

In addition, the Redevelopment Agency has selected Vimini Associates of Bridgeport to assist with marketing the property along with the Economic Development office. Any sale would have to go through a request for proposals process, Knorr said.

“They are serious, but there’s a lot of work that has to be done before someone can actually put a shovel in the ground and put buildings up,” Knorr said.

The former Contract Plating site off Longbrook Avenue has been cleared of the old industrial buildings that dotted it for so many years. The town is cleaning the property and looking for a buyer. — Melvin Mason photo

The former Contract Plating site off Longbrook Avenue has been cleared of the old industrial buildings that dotted it for so many years. The town is cleaning the property and looking for a buyer. — Melvin Mason photo

About author
Editor for the Stratford Star. Former reporter for the Darien Times.

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