Echo Hose education center in jeopardy?
The future of the Echo Hose Community Education Center is in question, as the property in which it sits could end up home to an apartment complex.
Interim Planning & Zoning Administrator Ken Nappi confirmed that developers have sought advice from zoning staff on placing 27 apartments in the St. Joseph Church-owned property at 430 Coram Avenue. This has been home to the Echo Hose Training Center for more than a year.
“No application has been submitted,” said Nappi, adding the prospective developers stated that they were simply inquiring about such a proposal.
The 32,720-square-foot building — formerly the St. Joseph Parish School — has been on the market for weeks. The site is listed with Trumbull-based Hodson Realty, Inc., at $379,900. Attempts to reach church officials to confirm the sale were unsuccessful.
Nappi said the prospective developers stated that there was a purchase agreement pending zoning approvals. Nappi said any such plan would require both Planning & Zoning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals approvals, considering the proposed density and a 25-parking spot lease agreement with the church.
“There is nothing firm here,” said Nappi, adding that the site sits in a R-4 zone and not zoned for apartments. “This would have to go to ZBA because of the tightness of the property lines.”
The real estate listing states that the two-story building is 32,720 square feet with basement level masonry and brick former school building with a variety of former classroom spaces being used as offices and training rooms, and a large gymnasium.
The listing states that the building has numerous potential use, such as a dance school, martial arts, art or theater work spaces or school, training school, flex space or offices, adult day care, or a new charter school. It states that the building could also be “renovated to 55+ housing or apartments.”
The school building is to be split from the main church property. Additional parking can be potentially leased from the church. There is also available for lease — second-floor, former classroom spaces.
This facility was opened in September with the help of $15,000 grant from the Katharine Matthies Foundation and a donation of furniture and equipment from the R.D. Scinto Co. The center offers training for EMS, fire and police departments throughout the Naugatuck Valley and the rest of the state as well as providing public community trainings, and a place for nonprofits to gather.
The Echo Hose Ambulance holds community health education and EMS programs at the center, and adults can take free “hands only” CPR training, bleeding control training, a Narcan administration class, or the Hidden in Plain Sight program for parents looking for signs of underage drinking or drug use.
The center is presently used by the Valley United Way; the CARES group holds weekly meetings; TEAM, Inc. has its toy store on-site and there are programs being run by the Shelton Youth Service Bureau, Veterans Hospital and BH Health Care. There are also Naugatuck Valley Health District/Medical Reserve Corps, Department of Homeland Security and FEMA funded programs for first responders from all over the state, including Shelton’s police, fire and emergency management services.