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Naugatuck to Apply for State Reimbursement for $750,000 Land Purchase

The borough is going through the process of buying a section of rural land to be turned into a passive park and a space for more athletic fields.

Naugatuck’s officials are finalizing the paperwork on a $750,000 purchase of forested land along Andrew Mountain Road.

The plan, ultimately, is to convert roughly two-thirds of the 146-acre parcel into a passive, open space park complete with some trails and a camping area. The remaining one-third of the property will eventually be converted into a borough-maintained athletic field, officials said.

During the Board of Mayor and Burgess meeting on Tuesday, Burgess Ron San Angelo called the agreement a “win-win” for advocates of environmental conservation and residents that want more playing fields for sports teams.

“In Naugatuck, we’ve always had this long battle between the environmentalist people and the parks and recreation people,” said Burgess Ron San Angelo. “I would hope that both sides come together on this one.”

The annual cost to the borough for the property would a series of $150,000 each year for the next five years, until that $750,000 balance is met. The payments would come out of Naugatuck’s capital projects budget, which is set aside for one-time expenditures like this, according to Mayor Robert Mezzo’s blog.

Ultimately, however, the cost might come in lower than that.

On Tuesday, the borough board voted unanimously to apply for a Department of Environmental and Energy Protection grant, which would reimburse Naugatuck some 50-60 percent of the costs spent on just the passive land section, said Attorney Edward “Ned” Fitzpatrick.

To get that reimbursement, Fitzpatrick and borough Controller Wayne McAllister needed the borough board to sign off on the application process. Fitzpatrick said Naugatuck has to submit its request to DEEP, which will determine how much the borough will be paid back after the land acquisition.

To be reimbursed, Naugatuck has to agree to keep the land as a passive, open space in perpetuity — meaning no real estate development would be allowed on it any time in the future.

In furthering the process along, the borough board voted to pass along the proposal to the Naugatuck Planning Commission. The commission has to complete an environmental assessment phase, which is required for the DEEP reimbursement.

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