The redevelopment of Shelton’s downtown area continues as a group of community leaders gathered at the site of the Chromium Process building on Howe Ave. to celebrate the building’s upcoming demolition.
Shelton Economic Development Corporation President Paul Grimmer said the building should be completely gutted out by the end of this week and the demolition of the building is scheduled for Sept. 19.
“Nothing is staying,” said Grimmer. “Everything you can possibly take out of a building is coming out. From the floor panels to the ceiling rafters. This will be a hole in the ground after demolition and will then be remade into a parking lot.”
The ceremony drew a crowd ranging from Planning and Zoning commissioners, State Reps., to the mayor.
“I don’t know why it’s such a big deal to knock this building down, where was everybody when all those buildings along the river came down?,” said Mayor Mark Lauretti. “I know this has been a big eyesore and a bone of contention for a number of years, somewhat of an impediment for investors and developers because getting money to be next to a property like this is a challenge. That challenge goes away, it’s taken us a long time to get to this point, but I gotta say that the effort that has been made over the years has finally come into fruition and the dividends are here for us.”
Lauretti said the demolition of the Chromium building is another victory for the city.
“Sometimes it’s one by one and not the big grandioso project that sometimes people envision,” said Lauretti. “That’s not the dynamic of how things occur in small town America like Shelton, there small victories and you have to piece them together so people can see that you’re making progress.”
Former Shelton Economic Development Corporation President James Ryan said the demolition of the building was a long time coming.
“This is proof that when a community works together as a team a reinvestment in the downtown area can be successful,” said Ryan.
He said it feels good to see these plans come to life as many people didn’t see the vision of a redeveloped downtown area.
“This is one of three things people forecasted would never happen. The Slab being brought back to life, asphalt plant and Chromium building would never be eliminated. So this is incredible, the state participation has really made this go as well,” said Ryan.
State Representative Ben McGorty (R-122) said he sees this a potential new opportunity for the city.
“Like many municipalities across Connecticut, Shelton must find ways to renew former major industrial sites that are blighted and repurpose them for the future,” said Rep. McGorty. “The modernization of the downtown area will give rise to new opportunities for both residents and local businesses, contributing to the revitalization of the region’s economy.”
Lifelong Shelton resident Frank Hyman, 80, watched as preparation for demolition was took place and said he remembers his sisters working at the Chromium factory 40 years ago. He said he supports the changes that have yet to come and he is ready to see new businesses make their way into the downtown area.
“The industry was booming over here, but that was long ago,” said Hyman. I’d like to see the older buildings come out of here and put some new stuff in here. Downtown really needed this change.”