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Fairfield gets $3 million in state aid for mixed use development remediation

From left: State Senator Tony Hwang, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and Alexandra Daum, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.
Eddy Martinez
Connecticut Public
State Senator Tony Hwang and Alexandra Daum, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, listen during a press conference, July 21, 2023, in which Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced State funds being released to build on the former site of the Bullard Machine Company in Fairfield.

Fairfield, like many other towns and cities across the state, is suffering from an affordable housing shortage. But state and local officials are praising a future mixed use development project which they say will include some affordable units.

The project will be built on the former site of the Bullard Machine Tool Company on Black Rock Turnpike. The site, which is now vacant, is located next to the Fairfield Metro North station.

The property will need remediation. Gov. Ned Lamont announced the town will get $3 million in a state grant to help with environmental cleanup.

Lamont says the funds will give the property a new lease on life.

“In places like here in Fairfield and a lot of our old industrial base, that's what brownfields are all about, bringing them back to life,” Lamont said.

The remediation will last three to six months according to Tom Montelli, a developer.

While the project will have 20% of its units set aside for affordable housing, there are still not many details available on the rental prices for the units.

The development comes after the town rejected another housing project over residential objections. First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick said the new development going up at 81 Black Rock Turnpike is different because it will be built on a former industrial site.

“There's a lot of small single family and duplexes on that street; safety issues concerning,” Kupchick said. “This is a totally different area. This is an industrial area that has been laying dormant literally for 40 years.”

State Rep. Sarah Keitt, who represents the 134th district including Fairfield, said the units will help alleviate an affordable housing shortage.

“I'm excited that we are having more affordable housing units available here in Fairfield,” Keitt said.

The governor’s office said 20% of the units will be affordable at 80% of the median income.

But affordable in Fairfield can wildly differ from other municipalities. HUD’s figures under that metric for one person would be 80% of $54,950. The average rent in Fairfield according to RentCafe is $2,490.

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