The City of Waterbury and the Waterbury Development Corporation have partnered to create a Redevelopment Strategy and Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Plan for the Freight Street District. The project is being funded by a Responsible Growth and Transit-Oriented Development Program Grant from the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM). The purpose of the project is to create a redevelopment “road map” for the Freight Street District that outlines the steps that the City needs to take to spur development
- Prioritization of environmental cleanup funds
- Set cleanup standards for properties based on future uses
- Identification and prioritization of infrastructure improvements
- Recommendations for property assembly or subdivision
- Regulatory changes (zoning, permitting, etc.)
- Market feasibility of different uses
- Funding sources and funding strategy
The Freight Street District Redevelopment Strategy builds off of many ongoing projects and initiatives in the project area, including:
Waterbury Active Transportation and Economic Resurgence (W.A.T.E.R.) Project
The W.A.T.E.R. Project is an ongoing $19.5 million infrastructure investment funded through a federal TIGER Grant and local matching funds. Improvements funded through the TIGER Grant include:
- Reconstruction of Freight Street, including utilities, sidewalks, lighting, plantings, and a two-way cycle track
- The Jackson Street Connector is a new roadway that will connect to Bank Street to the south and West Main Street to the north. This roadway will improve traffic flow and will better connect the Freight Street district to neighborhoods to the north and south.
- Meadow Street Complete Streets Improvements. Meadow Street serves as the gateway to the Freight Street District and Downtown Waterbury. Complete Streets improvements will make the area more pedestrian and bike friendly and will better connect the Freight Street District and Downtown Waterbury to the train station.
The initial W.A.T.E.R. project application included several additional projects that were not funded through the TIGER Grant. Nonetheless, these projects remain important components of the long-term vision for the Freight Street District. The City is actively seeking funding sources to move these projects forward. These projects include:
- Naugatuck River Greenway – Phase 2 – The Naugatuck River Greenway Phase 2 is part of a proposed 45 mile long regional greenway trail that will connect communities along the Naugatuck River from Derby to Torrington. Phase 2 of the trail will connect to Phase 1 of the trail at Eagle Street before terminating at West Main Street.
- The Library Park-Train Station-Greenway Connector is a proposed pedestrian bridge that would connect the Freight Street District to the train station and Downtown Waterbury. While this project was initially funded through the TIGER grant program, the funds for this project were reassigned to other elements of the W.A.T.E.R. project to due to the lack of funding for Phase 2 of the Naugatuck River Greenway.
- Riverfront Park is a proposed 9 acre park located along the Naugatuck River just south of Interstate 84. The City envisions that the park will contain a mix of active and passive recreational activities.
Waterbury Innovation Places Strategy
Innovation Places is a state funded program that seeks to support entrepreneurs and leaders in developing places that will attract talent and foster employment growth in high-tech industries. The City of Waterbury submitted an application to fund local projects and initiatives with the goal of building local capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship. One of the recommendations of the Waterbury Innovation Places strategy was to establish an Innovation Center and Makerspace in the Freight Street District. While Waterbury was not selected in the initial round of funding, it is seeking funding in future rounds.
Waterbury Branch Line Improvements
As part of the Transform CT Program, the Connecticut Department of Transportation is investing $70 million to make upgrades to the Waterbury Branch Line. Planned improvements include the signalization of the line, installation of passing sidings, and upgrades to the rolling stock. These improvements will allow more reliable, frequent, and comfortable rail service on the Waterbury Branch Line. In addition, upgrades are being made to the Waterbury Train station, including upgrades to the parking area and the conversion of the baggage room in the historic Union Station building into a new indoor waiting area. Train Station Improvements are expected to be complete in 2018.
The installation of the first passing siding in Derby was completed in 2017 (Below).