$20 million in state funds granted to Waterbury for city improvements

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH)– Some major election year goodies were announced for the city of Waterbury on Monday. The list includes state cash for some long-delayed city improvements that are expected to help attract significant private investment in the ‘Brass City.’

It’s about $20 million in state funds all together all designed to give a push to the city’s revitalization program
called “Waterbury Next.”

“This is a long steady effort that has to be worked every single day, month and year to make sure that Waterbury regains the luster it once had and now deserves,” Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-CT) told News 8 following a late morning news conference on the Waterbury Green.

The biggest chunk of the state money, $5 million, goes to help redevelop the former ‘Howland Hughes’ department store building downtown. City planners believe a major tenant can be attracted that would create hundreds of jobs.

Another million will be used to demolish the long closed Prospect Street garage. A new parking facility is expected to be built and privately financed and operated.

Another six to seven million will go toward a new signal system that will enhance safety and pave the way for more service on the Waterbury branch of the New Haven line.

Mayor Neil O’Leary (D-Waterbury) said, “This announcement today brings hope to all the investors in downtown Waterbury, those that have sat on these empty buildings for all those years and paid taxes and turned on that heat bill and all those things.”

There’s also about $4 million for improvements to the city streetscape downtown, and around the green to make the area more attractive.

This extends some of the major developments, like the Palace Theater rehab and the UConn Waterbury campus, all made during the Rowland administration.

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