Chromium Process parking lot is striped and ready

The Chromium Process parking lot has informally opened on Canal Street.

The city-owned lot fits 81 vehicles on what was once a thriving factory site in the heart of downtown Shelton. City crews have striped the lot, creating the individual parking spots.

The Planning and Zoning Commission recently gave a positive 8-24 referral on using the 0.64-acre property for a parking lot. The P&Z is required make a recommendation for any project or major improvement proposed on city land.

The old factory was demolished in the fall of 2016, creating a huge hole where the structure's basement was located. As part of an industrial area developed in the late 1800s, the underground area included various chambers, piping and canal waterworks.

Environmental remediation had to be done on the site before and after the building demolition. The city eventually filled in the site, and the top layer used for parking consists of flattened asphalt millings.

The parking lot borders Canal Street, Canal Street West and the end of Center Street. It's near the Howe Avenue Dunkin' Donuts rear parking lot, the Conti Building and the Shelton Farmers Market building. The legal address is 113 Canal St. West.

No signs have been installed yet identifying the parking lot or detailing public parking rules, but some vehicles already are being parked there. The lot was open for parking during the Derby-Shelton fireworks on July 3.

People living in some of the nearby downtown residential projects with inadequate parking are likely to use the lot as well as patrons and employees of nearby businesses.

Mayor Mark Lauretti has said the site eventually should be used for private economic development as part of downtown renewal efforts.

The city acquired the Chromium Process property through foreclosure, and state and federal brownfields funding helped with the environmental cleanup.