New Milford seeks new contractor for mill demolition
Published 2:43 pm, Wednesday, February 24, 2016
NEW MILFORD — The town is ready to find a new company to demolish the Century Brass mill after firing the original contractor last month.
Mayor David Gronbach hopes to award a contract within the next few months with work resuming in late spring.
With limited time remaining to use a $2.5 million state grant for the demolition of the PCB-contaminated mill, the town fired Standard Demolition Services on Jan. 11 and then filed a breach of contract suit against the Trumbull-based company.
The civil suit filed in state Superior Court in Litchfield asserts Standard Demolition “materially breached” its more than $2 million contract with the town to perform demolition of the building along with associated abatement and remediation work.
Standard Demolition has filed a counter suit, saying the town acted prematurely, and did not complete its obligations for testing and characterization of waste, causing delays for the company.
“We will make sure this time that there is no confusion about the role the successful bidder is to play,” Gronbach said. “We will be discussing the future of the property. There are so many different options available. My office will be actively soliciting and marketing that property.”
The site sits along the Housatonic Railroad line and the Housatonic River. An industrial park has been considered for the property, which will also house the town’s Public Works campus.
The 320,000-square-foot mill was built in the 1950s by Scovill Corp. as a brass-making facility and was a major employer for years. It was last owned by Century Brass before the mill closed in 1986. The town took ownership of the 72-acre site in 1999 in a tax foreclosure.
The town tried unsuccessfully for a decade to find a buyer to clean and redevelop the property, an EPA-designated mega-brownfield site, a project that is complicated due to the extent or cost of environmental cleanup. A multi-million dollar environmental cleanup of the land was then conducted by the town with federal and state loans and grants.
The $2.5 million state DECD grant was awarded to the town in spring 2014 to pay for demolition and remediation of PCBs and asbestos contamination of the former brass mill. If the money is not spent by the end of 2016, the town will have to apply for an extension, Gronbach explained.