Bright future in the cards for brass mill site

April 4, 2014

For nearly three decades, the former Century Brass mill and the 72-acre parcel on which it sits along Aspetuck Ridge Road in New Milford have remained vacant.

The 320,000-square-foot building, contaminated with PCBs and asbestos, has proven to be unmarketable and has become more and more of an eyesore over the years.

And understandably, New Milford officials and residents have become increasingly frustrated the valuable, well-situated industrial property — acquired by the town through tax foreclosure in 1999 — has not been yielding any tax revenue or other benefits.

Now, thanks to the combined efforts of New Milford and state officials, and after years of sincere efforts and dead-end proposals, there is hope for the property — and the town’s tax rolls.

Mayor Pat Murphy and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced last week New Milford will be receiving a $2.5 million state grant that will pay the bulk of the $3 million needed to demolish the building and perform an environmental cleanup.

We strongly support the project, which will pave the way for a new era for the property, a site that from the mid-1950s to 1986 had been the home of, first, the Scovill brass manufacturing plant and, later, the Century Brass mill.

We applaud Murphy for her leadership initiative in seeking the state grant.

We applaud the state legislators who worked on the town’s behalf, and especially state Sen. Clark Chapin, the mayor’s husband.

And we applaud Malloy and his administration for recognizing the property has sat dormant for too long and, as stated in the governor’s press release, there is “tremendous potential for commercial and green industrial use that will generate economic development and create jobs.”

Ever since New Milford took over the Century Brass property, there have been efforts made to conduct an environmental cleanup, upgrade the site and find a suitable buyer or tenant.

With federal and state assistance, the town has poured millions of dollars into cleanup efforts and sewer, water and road infrastructure improvements.

But for 15 years, those efforts produced no ultimately desirable solution for the property once called an “industrial albatross” by a former town economic development supervisor.

Today, however, New Milford can look to a future in which it can market the property to one or more suitors and possibly move the overcrowded Public Works campus from Young’s Field Road to the site.

Today, for the first time in nearly 30 years, New Milford officials and townspeople can realistically look ahead to a bright future for the site that for too long has been a blemish and a source of frustration for the town.