By TAYLOR HARTZ
The former Corbin and Beaton site on North Main Street, directly adjacent to the Southington Fire Department Engine Co. 1, will be redeveloped into commercial office space starting this year, thanks to a recent grant from the state.
Southington will receive $400,000 in funding from the Department of Economic and Community Development’s (DECD) Brownfield Remediation Program.
The building at 318 North Main St. was closed in 1989, but the property has been overgrown since an arson fire leveled the structure in 2003. Now, the property will be demolished and redesigned to serve as an office building in a statewide effort to redevelop brownfield sites.
The Corbin site is just one of 17 projects throughout the state that will be funded in an effort to remediate blighted properties.
On Feb. 10, Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) announced that the state is awarding $8.7 million in state grants through the program. The governor said the grants are “strategic investments” that will allow Connecticut to be “on the cutting edge” of providing new uses for unused property.
Since 2012, the state has committed more than $150 million to brownfield redevelopment to promote economic growth across the state.
This year’s $7 million investment will be used to clean up and redevelop five former industrial sites, including Corbin and Beaton, while the remaining $1.7 million will be used to assess another 12 sites.
Malloy said he hopes the investments will help cities and towns address vacant or blighted properties and “bring them back to life in order to spur new investments, new development, and new jobs for those in the community.”
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said the program will improve the economic health of cities and towns across the state.
“Cleaning up toxic and blighted properties is integral to creating attractive, livable communities,” said Wyman, who hopes the investments will promote economic growth.
Robert Klee, Commissioner for the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) said the program is a good investment because brownfield sites are usually located near infrastructures including water, sewers, and transportation, which means “their redeveloping will lessen pressure on open space and other environmentally sensitive areas.”
The 17 projects receiving these grants will help to redevelop a total of 190 acres of land.
DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith said the DECD will work closely with the cities and towns to help them plan their redevelopment and take full advantage of opportunities for the future of the properties.
State Rep. Daivd Zoni (D) said the Corbin and Beaton property is “an important site in our town,” and thanked the governor for including Southington, along with the other 16 municipalities chosen for the program.
Zoni said he thinks the grant program is “a critically needed investment in our communities that hopefully will boost development and create jobs at the local level.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Hartz, email her at THartz@SouthingtonObserver.com.