Grant looks to spur development around Fairfield Metro
Published 12:08 pm, Thursday, October 12, 2017
FAIRFIELD — The town hopes to use a $200,000 investment to spur development around the Fairfield Metro Center train station.
The $200,000 comes in the form a planning grant from the state Office of Policy and Management, as part of its Transit Oriented Development program. The program provides grants to towns to aid in the development of residential and commercial centers within walking distance of public transportation facilities.
“While we still need to finalize a grant agreement and detailed scope of work with the state, the overall intent is to attract new investment and encourage economic development in and around the Fairfield Metro Center rail station in order to grow the grand list,” Mark Barnhart, Community and Economic Development director.
Barnhart said he expects the grant would be used to conduct an in-depth market analysis, a review of existing land use policies, and potential barriers to development, along with an examination of potential redevelopment sites, their potential, and the economic impacts.
The town, with the aid of state Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, R-133, had submitted funding requests for the project for several years prior to getting approval this year.
“This funding will help us create a vision for development in the Fairfield Metro Center area and continue our work with area businesses and other community leaders,” First Selectman Mike Tetreau said. “ Since its opening, Fairfield has made steady progress in capitalizing on the center’s potential as an engine for economic growth.”
The Town Plan and Zoning Commission adopted regulations for a transit-oriented design district, and the first TODD overlay was approved for the Commerce Drive-lower Black Rock Turnpike area. Over the summer, the town’s first mixed-use residential apartment building opened at the corner of Commerce and Black Rock Turnpike.
Ambitious plans from private developer Blackrock Realty, LLC, for a project that was to include a Hilton hotel and office buildings have yet to materialize.
“These funds provide a tremendous opportunity for Fairfield to partner with community stakeholders, private developers and local residents to build on successful development in the area, such as the newly opened Trademark Apartments,” Vahey said.“Planning funds provide the opportunity for smart investments in future development that will strengthen our economy and position us as an emerging economic hub. In the midst of Connecticut’s fiscal challenges, we need to remain focused on the long-term vision and solutions that will help our economy thrive.”
Fairfield previously received $750,000 through the TOD program in September of 2016 for the replacement of 3,000 feet of sewer lines to support development in the vicinity of the Metro Center.