PLAINVILLE – Town leaders are moving ahead with several projects including White Oak remediation, police station and airport improvements, and installing a sewer system extension for the Honor Heights neighborhood.
Town Council Chair Kathy Pugliese said that the town has put out RFPs (request for proposals) for remediation work to the former White Oak Construction building at 1& 63 W. Main St., next to the Municipal Center.
“We’ve talked to a few people,” she said. “This is the first step in the remediation process.”
Town Manager Robert E. Lee said White Oak was once one of the largest construction companies in Connecticut and was known for building bridges. The property has sat vacant since it closed in the early 2000s. The town received a $1.17 million state Brownfields grant for site remediation last June.
Manafort Brothers, Inc., Newport Realty and TWM Development ultimately plan to renovate the building into a mixed-use development. The development will consist of medical office space, industrial condominiums, a community building, retail, housing and parking.
Pugliese said that the Town Council has also approved the removal of furniture and other items from inside the White Oak building. This will cost $83,000, which will ultimately be reimbursed by Manafort Brothers, Inc., Newport Realty and TWM Development.
“There was some concern about vandalism and people breaking into the building,” she said. “We will pay to clear out the cabinets and furniture and empty out the building. I would imagine this will take place in the next few weeks.”
The town also plans to utilize $100,000 of the $200,000 allocated to the police department from ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding for building enhancements at the police station.
“It will allow them to renovate the kitchen and the Robert Holcomb room and make other interior upgrades,” said Pugliese. “The building is 25 years old and in need of some updates. Chief Christopher Vanghele put together a list of items and the work will be completed by a local company, Award Kitchen & Bath, on Whiting Street. They have said they will donate some dollars to help get the work done.”
Robertson Airport, the public use airport at 62 Johnson Ave., will also see the installation of new weather-related equipment to assist pilots in a $1.465 million project. Pugliese said that $1.3 million, about 90% of this project, will be covered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), $40,000 will be covered by state funding and the town will pay for the remaining $106,000.
The Honor Heights neighborhood, which includes 82 homes, will also be connected to the town’s sewer system as part of a $1.2 million upgrade. This project will be funded with state grant money.
“The residents of this neighborhood are currently only on a septic system,” said Pugliese. “These systems are about 30 years old and would cost $30,000 to fix. This is an extensive project that will be a permanent fix for those residents.”
Pugliese added that town engineers are also looking into a flooding issue on Hemingway Street, which she said affects the 8 homes in the area closest to Norton Park.
“There is a drainage problem with the pipes that were installed 50 years ago,” said Pugliese. “The original developer is no longer around and the residents’ backyards were being flooded. Town engineering staff are going out to the affected areas and trying to find a solution.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.