HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The State Bonding Commission has approved $10 million to pay for the clean up of the former Norwich Hospital site, clearing the way for the Mohegan Tribe to build their entertainment complex on the site.
Wednesday’s decision means that voters in Preston will be able to vote by the end of this month to approve the ‘Purchase and Sale Agreement’ transferring the nearly 400-acre former State Mental Hospital site to the Mohegan Tribe so they can proceed with their development plans. They plan a $200 million to $600 million investment in a theme park, sports venue, hotels and retail complex targeted at the non-gambling public, but located just across the river from their casino complex.
It would involve more than 700 construction jobs to build and eventually 400 to 600 full-time jobs and would double the towns tax base.
“This is exciting news and frankly, long overdue. This is the former state land that the state should have taken responsibility to clean up a long time ago but now we are finally doing it,” said Governor Malloy following Wednesday’s unanimous vote.
Looking on was Preston Republican First Selectman Bob Congdon, who has spent the past two decades trying to get this done.
“One of the reasons I ran twenty-one-and-a-half years ago and very important to our town and Southeastern Connecticut that this property get returned to productive use,” said Congdon.
The $10 million to remove decades of asbestos, lead and other pollutants is the last main impediment to making that happen.
“Without it, we don’t move forward, it’s plain and simple. This money is needed to finish the clean up of the property then to enable to tribe to come and do their development,” said Preston Redevelopment Agency chairman Sean Nugent.
“This development will defend against lost revenue. It will make Southeast Connecticut a destination and attract people for multiple day stays,” said Congdon.
The tribal chairman has said that this development is separate from their joint effort with the Mashantuckets to develop a casino in Northern Connecticut to compete against the MGM complex under construction in Springfield.