PLYMOUTH - The town has received a $750,000 state grant to clean up the site of a former gas station and auto repair facility on Main Street, to prepare it for redevelopment.
The money is part of a $13.6 million round of state grants announced recently by Gov. Dannel Malloy, which will go to 14 municipalities to remediate brownfield properties and put them back into productive use.
The grant is to clean up the old Mayfair Garage, which occupied a half-acre at 142 Main St. The town foreclosed on the property last year and demolished the service station earlier this year, using $60,000 in funding from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s Municipal Grant Program to do an environmental study of the site.
Mayor David Merchant had given a presentation to DECD Deputy Commissioner Tim Sullivan last summer and got Sullivan to tour the Mayfair site in his bid to get the grant money to do the actual cleanup.
At that time Merchant called the cleanup “our number one priority.”
“I’ve talked to developers and contractors and we have some good ideas of what we want to do here,” he said then. “Maybe a restaurant but we don’t need any more gas stations or convenience stores. But the first thing is to get all this mess cleaned up.”
The property is right at the entrance to what Merchant termed the Terryville’s “Village District.” The town also recently demolished 150 Main St., a small abandoned apartment building nearby, with a plan to join the two lots.
The garage had been owned by Frank Fuller Jr., who died in 2015. The property is 0.53 acres bounded by the Pequabuck River and had housed a service station built in 1967. In 2007, gasoline was found to be leaking into the river from an underground storage tank, which had to be cleaned up using federal grant money.
Fuller continued using the site for his vehicle repair business until just a few years ago but fell behind in his property taxes, Merchant said.
The town has hired Tighe & Bond engineering and environmental consulting services to assess the extent of contamination at the site.
In announcing the grants, Malloy said, “These kinds of properties that have been vacant for decades are causing blight in neighborhoods, draining local resources, and having a negative impact on towns and cities. We can add value in our communities by making smart investments that repurpose these properties, resulting in a boost for local economies and spurring growth and private investments.”
For every dollar the state has invested in brownfield redevelopment, non-state partners have invested or will invest $11.41. Since 2012, the state has invested more than $220 million in brownfield redevelopment, resulting in the creation of more than 3,000 permanent jobs and over 15,000 construction jobs in the state, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.