The wheels of government funding are known to move slowly.

Yet the push is on in New Milford to demolish the contaminated, town-owned, former Century Brass building.

An engineering firm to develop the specifications for safely demolishing the 320,000-square-foot building is expected to be chosen by mid-July.

Mayor Pat Murphy and New Milford Public Works staff are reviewing the 20-25 responses received to the town's request for proposals from engineering firms.

"We're coming up with a short list which we will then send on to the state for approval," Murphy said Tuesday. "We had to have our initial specs approved and received a list of state-approved firms to send proposal requests to."

A $2.5 million state bond was approved March 28 toward the demolition and environmental cleanup of the long-abandoned Century Brass building in New Milford.

The industrial edifice was constructed in the 1950s by the Scovill Corporation as a brass-making facility and served the town as a major employer for many years.

The bond money is being issued as a grant to the town through the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

"The engineers we hire will be responsible for developing the plan for safely taking the building down and disposing of the contaminated materials," Murphy said.

Although the 72-acre site has already undergone a multimillion-dollar federal and state environmental assessment and cleanup, the property still includes the vacant brass mill building, which is contaminated with asbestos and PCB.

An environmental cleanup will be conducted during and after the building's razing.

The project is estimated to cost $3 million.

Along with the $2.5 million grant, Murphy plans to ask the DECD to release funds left from the Boardman Road project.

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-5th) visited the site in April. She lauded the mayor for bringing the state grant to the town to cleanup and revitalize the site.

"We don't want properties looking like this in our communities," Esty said. "Cleaning them up, revitalizing them, changes the character of the community, creating a feeling of growth and vitality. You can't measure that in dollars."

The town took ownership of the site in 1999 in a tax foreclosure. The mill had closed in 1986.

The town tried unsuccessfully for a decade to find a buyer to clean up and redevelop the property, an EPA-designated mega-brownfield site.

The long-term town plan for the property is to develop an industrial park and possibly move the Public Works Department from its Young's Field Road home along Housatonic Avenue to several acres on the former Century Brass property.

stuz@newstimes.com;

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