Shelton street extension project heads to CT Bond Commission

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 — The groundbreaking on extending Constitution Boulevard is planned for April 15, and it appears construction will be on the state’s dime.

A request for $5 million to cover the costs of extending the roadway — which is essential to the eventual development of the nearly 70-acre, city-owned Mas property — will be before the state Bond Commission on March 31.

“We get results, and that makes everyone look good,” said Mayor Mark Lauretti. “The goal is to keep Connecticut businesses in Connecticut. I’m grateful (Gov. Ned Lamont) recognizes that.

Lauretti said extending Constitution Boulevard was a smart business move.

“But the state is not just giving away money,” he said. “This will pay dividends not just for the city but for the state. (Lamont) recognizes what is going on in Shelton. He’s engaged in economic development, and I give him credit for that.”

Extending the roadway and use of the Mas property has been on the table for years, but Lauretti began the most recent push in 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.

“In my first conversation with (Lamont), I said four other governors have given me money, don’t get left out,” Lauretti said. “We do credible projects that benefit Shelton and the State of Connecticut. It really is a mutual relationship.”

The city has purchased 56 Blacks Hill Road but still needs to acquire property at 55 Blacks Hill Road to complete the road. The city and the owners of a property on Blacks Hill Road that is essential to extension of Constitution Boulevard remain far apart on sale terms and Lauretti is saying condemning the property is the next step.

Lauretti has so far declined to say what the city is offering but said the owners of 55 Blacks Hill Road have offered to sell the 5.1-acre property to the city for $1.7 million.

In recent weeks, the city has reached deals to sell pieces of the Mas land to two separate companies.

Shelton residents William and Nicole Charney, owners of Shelton-based Advanced Home Audio, which is presently located on Long Hill Cross Road, agreed to buy six acres. The couple agreed to pay the city $85,000 per acre, which comes to $510,000.

That sale came after Lauretti announced that Bigelow Tea was purchasing 25 acres of the property for an estimated $2.1 million for its future expansion.

The aldermen’s approval states the total acreage and payment amount will be determined after the final subdivision of the nearly 70-acre parcel near Constitution Boulevard.

Shelton state reps. 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.

“This has been a great team effort that included (Lauretti), Rep. McGorty and Senator Kelly whose help was invaluable,” Perillo said. “We made our pitch to the governor’s office, and they agreed that this was a great economic development opportunity that could not be missed.

“This will keep a Connecticut business right here in Fairfield County (Bigelow Tea) and lead to additional business development,” Perillo added. “Additionally, these projects keep taxes on residents low while also providing more tax revenue to pay for city services.”

The Mas property is now vacant. It is mostly wooded with considerable stone ledges and several ponds, including one that is about 600 feet long and 250 to 300 feet wide, and lies between Bridgeport Ave., Cots Street, Tisi Drive, Sunwood Condos on Nells Rock Road, Regent Drive, Walnut Avenue, and Kings Highway. Part of the land abuts the back of the Perry Hill School property.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com