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Old Seymour Lumber & Supply Co. building demolished to make way for potential development

By Jean Falbo-Sosnovich, New Haven Register

SEYMOUR >> The former historic Seymour Lumber & Supply Co. building was reduced to a pile of rubble over the weekend.

The long-awaited demolition of the blighted property at 78-101 Bank St. finally happened on Sunday, opening up the property to potential developers.

Demolition was expected to occur several months ago, but several stumbling blocks and permitting issues caused some delays, town officials said.

“This administration deemed this a priority and worked as a team in moving this project one large step forward in the redevelopment of this important corner in our Transit Oriented Development Area,” said Economic Development Director Fred A. Messore.

Messore said the 1.06 acres the building occupied, coupled with the 3.12 acres next door on the former Housatonic Wire Co. property, are now opened up, serving as a “gateway” to downtown Seymour, and hopefully luring potential developers to this “prime” real estate.

Messore said the property is ideal for mixed-use development, like retail, office and residential, abutting the $6.3 million fish bypass project that just opened across the way on the Naugatuck River, and future site of the greenway trail and linear park nearby.

Seymour Lumber had been a mainstay at the corner of Bank Street and Route 67 for more than 85 years, serving area contractors and do-it-yourselfers with building and construction needs. Owner Thomas Tkacz moved operations to nearby Bethany in 2008. The property since sat vacant, racking up daily fines since it was declared blighted by the town in March.

Messore said there has been interest in the property over the years, but nothing solid had materialized. The state in May 2010 passed a law creating the River Falls Improvement District, which included both the Seymour Lumber and Housatonic Wire properties. It is geared to enable members of the district to take bonds out to cover the costs for site improvements.

First Selectman Kurt Miller got a chance to sit behind the big yellow excavator Sunday morning, digging the machine’s giant claw into the side of the building. He said he’s not sure what lies ahead for the property, but is anxious to see it redeveloped and get back onto the town’s tax rolls.



Feds sue Derby to recoup O’Sullivan’s Island cleanup costs

By Michelle Tuccitto Sullo, New Haven Register

The federal government Tuesday filed a civil action against the city of Derby as part of its ongoing effort to recoup expenses related to the environmental cleanup at O’Sullivan’s Island.

The litigation was filed in U.S. District Court, along with a consent decree which calls for Derby to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $675,000 by Dec. 31. If the payment is late, a $400-per-day penalty would apply, under the terms of the 24-page decree.

Emily Zimmerman, a spokesperson for the EPA, said the action formalizes an agreement reached between the government and city over the summer.

In July, the Derby Board of Aldermen approved a resolution to pay the EPA $675,000 to resolve the government’s claims.

“The consent decree is the same issue that was negotiated — this (civil action) formalizes it, and opens it up for a 30-day comment period,” Zimmerman said.

Once it is posted on the U.S. Department of Justice’s federal register for proposed consent decrees, interested residents will have 30 days to comment.

“The United States reserves the right to withdraw or withhold its consent if the comments regarding the Consent Decree disclose facts or considerations that indicate that this Consent Decree is inappropriate, improper or inadequate,” the decree states.

Attorney Gary O’Connor of Hartford, who represents Derby, said Tuesday’s filing was expected.

“We have reached an agreement on the EPA claim, but in order for the court to approve it, it needs jurisdiction,” O’Connor said. “In order for the court to get jurisdiction, this complaint had to be filed along with the consent decree.”

After the 30-day public comment period, O’Connor said he is hopeful the court will approve the settlement agreement and enter the consent decree.



DEEP opens $6.3M fishway in Seymour


The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection has opened a $6.3 million project letting fish bypass the Tingue Dam in Seymour.

The project allows fish species like American shad, blueback herring, alewife, and American eel to access and spawn in about 30 miles of habitat from Long Island Sound to Thomaston.

The fishway was a joint effort of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, the Housatonic River Natural Resource Damage Trustee Council, and the town of Seymour.



Valley has the goods for heritage area


U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, whose district encompasses much of the Valley, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, are touting the Valley's history and have renewed an effort to have the 14-town link recognized as the Naugatuck River Valley National Heritage Area.

And it is some heritage. As Blumenthal noted recently, "This is the area where manufacturing in Connecticut was driven for so many years."



Contaminants present at O’Sullivan’s Island but no public danger

By Jean Falbo-Sosnovich, New Haven Register

DERBY >> Preliminary results of soil tested at O’Sullivan’s Island show that while low levels of chemical contaminants are present in the surface, they do not pose a threat to public health.

That’s according to Margaret Harvey, an epidemiologist for the state Department of Public Health.

“Average concentrations of contaminants in surface soil (0-6 inches) are lower than health-based screening values,” Harvey said in a Sept. 25 email to the Valley Council of Governments. “This means that exposure to surface soil at the O’Sullivan’s Island site is not expected to harm people’s health.”



Salmon stocking underway

Salmon stocking underway
Posted on September 30, 2014 | By Bill Cummings
CT Post

HARTFORD – The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection on Tuesday announced it had begun the annual stocking of broodstock Atlantic salmon.

DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division last week released 500 salmon into the Naugatuck River (150 fish), Mount Tom Pond (100 fish), Crystal Lake (Ellington – 125 fish) and Beach Pond (125 fish).

“Atlantic salmon are renowned for their size, beauty and fighting ability,” said Peter Aarrestad, Director of DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division. “The Atlantic salmon recreational fishery has become quite popular, and catching one of these large leapers provides a thrilling experience for anglers”

In the Naugatuck and Housatonic Rivers angling for Atlantic salmon is restricted to catch-and-release only from September 1 through November 30.
From December 1, 2014, through March 31, 2015, the daily creel limit for Atlantic salmon will be one.

During the open season in the rivers, the legal method for taking Atlantic salmon is limited to angling using a single fly, or an artificial lure with a single free swinging hook and no additional weight can be added to the line above the fly or lure.

Also, from October 1st through March 31st, fishing for other species in the designated Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Areas is restricted to the gear legal for Atlantic salmon. Anglers are reminded that the same regulations also apply to the Shetucket River and that this river’s designated Broodstock Area is from the Scotland Dam (Scotland) to the Occum Dam (Norwich).

The group of Atlantic salmon released last week range in weight from 2-5 pounds each. In early October, approximately 500 additional fish in the same size range and more than 50 larger fish in the 3 to 14 pound range will be available for stocking. Following spawning later this fall, DEEP expects another150 salmon from the Kensington Hatchery will be available for stocking in November. These fish will also range in weight from 3 to 14 pounds each.



Ash landfill along the Naugatuck River

Ash landfill in Waterbury can expand
September 29, 2014


WATERBURY — The city has negotiated a deal to expand its ash landfill onto a narrow strip of state land that runs along Route 8 between the Naugatuck River and the train tracks.

The city struck the deal just in the nick of time. At the city's current ash production rate, of about 400 cubic yards per month, the existing 12-acre landfill would have been full in about 11 months. 



State releases Atlantic salmon into Naugatuck River

State releases Atlantic salmon into Naugatuck River
By Valley Gazette on September 18, 2013 in News, Parks & Recreation ·

Atlantic-salmonConnecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection has begun the 2013 autumn stockings of broodstock Atlantic salmon. DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division recently released 300 salmon into the Naugatuck River and Mount Tom Pond. Later this week, DEEP will release 300 salmon into the Shetucket River and Crystal Lake.

“Atlantic salmon are renowned for their size, beauty and fighting ability,” said Peter Aarrestad, Director of DEEP’s Inland Fisheries Division. “The Atlantic salmon recreational fishery has become quite popular, and catching one of these large leapers provides a thrilling experience for anglers.”

The Atlantic salmon being stocked in Connecticut were raised in the Kensington State Fish Hatchery and are the progeny of sea-run fish that returned to the Connecticut River. Salmon at this hatchery were raised to provide eggs for the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program that began in 1967. Since 1992, surplus and spawned fish from this program were made available to provide a recreational fishery for Connecticut anglers.

In 2012 the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program was discontinued due to storm damage at a federal hatchery and low returns of salmon in recent years. DEEP subsequently developed a new “Legacy Program” to maintain the popular recreational fishery for Atlantic salmon in Connecticut and also to preserve the unique and potentially important strain of southern Atlantic salmon that had been developed during the restoration effort...Atlantic salmon broodstock stocked in the Shetucket and Naugatuck Rivers are typically released into three designated Atlantic 
Salmon Broodstock Areas:

• Between Scotland Dam (Scotland) and Occum Dam (Norwich) on the Shetucket River

• The “Campville Section” of the upper Naugatuck River from Route 118 downstream to the Thomaston Flood Control Dam (Litchfield-Thomaston)

• The “Beacon Falls Section” of the lower Naugatuck from Prospect Street (Naugatuck) downstream to Pines Bridge Road (Route 42 bridge, Beacon Falls).

Anglers are allowed to fish for salmon in the Naugatuck River from the confluence of the East and West Branches (Torrington) downstream to the Housatonic River (Derby). 



Blumenthal, DeLauro seek heritage designation for the Naugatuck River Valley

Blumenthal, DeLauro seek heritage designation for the Naugatuck River Valley

Derby Mayor Anita Dugatto, Ansonia Mayor David Cassetti, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce President Bill Purcell were at the entrance of the Derby Greenway Wednesday announcing creation of the Naugatuck River Valley National Heritage Area Study Act.


Boosting the local economy, creating jobs and becoming a hub for historical and cultural tourism are some of the perks that could come along with proposed legislation unveiled by U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal Wednesday.

The two legislators gathered before a small crowd of local officials at the entrance of the Derby Greenway announcing creation of the Naugatuck River Valley National Heritage Area Study Act, which if approved, would designate the area a National Heritage Area.

Blumenthal, D-Conn., said a National Heritage Area is a geographic area designated by Congress under the National Park Service to commemorate, conserve and promote lands with common natural, scenic, historic, cultural and recreational resources. Such areas are eligible to receive federal funds for 10 years after the designation, enabling local communities to implement goals and objectives geared to increase employment, boost tourism and overall improve the local economy.

The proposed National Heritage Area includes 14 towns along the 39-mile long Naugatuck River, including Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Harwinton, Litchfield, Naugatuck, Oxford, Plymouth, Seymour, Shelton, Thomaston, Torrington, Waterbury and Watertown.

“The 14 communities that stretch along the Naugatuck River are steeped in agricultural trade, architectural and industrial history,” said DeLauro, D-3. “A National Heritage Area designation would not only recognize its unique and historical significance, but would boost the local economy through cultural and historic tourism, and help Connecticut to preserve its history for generations to come.”



Ansonia waste plant plan met with hesitation

Ansonia waste plant plan met with hesitation
By Jean Falbo-Sosnovich, New Haven Register

ANSONIA >> Residents aren’t ready to unroll the welcome mat for a $20 million proposal to build a plant that turns food waste into energy, that could potentially cut the city’s utilities costs in half.

About 25 residents and city officials attended an information meeting Thursday headed up by Chris Timbrell with Greenpoint Energy Partners, based in Brooklyn, New York.

This is the second time Greenpoint made its pitch to the city, and since the first forum, in January 2013, the project has been downsized.


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Special thanks to our sponsors:
Naugatuck Savings Bank, Connecticut Community Foundation
Union Savings Bank, Wesson Energy, Inc., The United Illumination Company, Friends of Naugatuck River
The Platt Brothers & Company, Thomaston Savings Bank, Valley Community Foundation