Shelton mayor: City eyes condemnation as Constitution Blvd. work looms

The intersection of Shelton Ave. (Rt. 108) and Constitution Blvd. South, in Shelton, Conn. April 14, 2021.

The intersection of Shelton Ave. (Rt. 108) and Constitution Blvd. South, in Shelton, Conn. April 14, 2021.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

SHELTON — Work should begin on extending Constitution Boulevard West — the key to developing land known as the Mas property — on or around April 15, according to Mayor Mark Lauretti.

Lauretti said this date remains in place even as city officials plan to use condemnation to acquire 55 Blacks Hill Road, a property which sits right in the middle of the proposed work area.

“We are going to condemn the land. Let a judge decide,” Lauretti said after admitting that negotiations with the property owners have stalled.

Lauretti said he first contacted the owners of 55 Blacks Hill Road — which the mayor says has been vacant for several years — before onset of the pandemic. He said the city made an offer to the owners, which was rejected. The mayor said he could not state the amount offered by the city at this point.

“They said it was not enough,” said Lauretti, adding that the owners never returned with a counteroffer. “(The resolution of this condemnation) should be very quick.”

The Board of Aldermen, at a meeting last month, approved the city’s purchase of 56 Blacks Hill Road for $590,000, with the cost being covered through use of American Rescue Plan funds.

Construction of the road — which has been discussed for decades — is key to the planned development of the city-owned Mas property into what Lauretti says will become a manufacturing hub. Over the past month, Lauretti said the city has sold more than 30 of the nearly 70-acre site to two separate businesses that plan to relocate there.

Lauretti said the road work will cost around $5 million, with much if not all covered by the state.

Shelton state representatives Jason Perillo and Ben McGorty and state Sen. Kevin Kelly worked alongside Lauretti to help secure $5 million in funding for the road extension in the state’s 2021 bond package. The funding will be available once approved by the state Bond Commission, according to Perillo.

Extending the roadway and use of the Mas property has been on the table for years, but Lauretti began the most recent push last April when he presented preliminary plans for creating the road leading into the city-owned land, which would be developed into a manufacturing corporate park.