A $3 million state grant is set to help rejuvenate a neighborhood and provide a safe haven for kids in Waterbury.
It’s a part of Mayor Neil O’Leary’s 313 Mill Street project.
The site of the new park was previously occupied by various manufacturers that dyed, bleached, washed and/ or printed textiles, including the American Mills Company, Princeton Knitting Mills Inc., Ecco, Inc., Fleisher Finishing, Inc. and the Nova Dye and Print Corporation.
In 2012, Nova Dye and Print Corporation burned to the ground, leaving behind a pile of rubble and an unpredictable future.
Homeowners say the improvements are needed. For the last seven years, metal fences and overgrown bushes have occupied the burned out factory site.
Ashley Bezaras is happy about the changes brewing just steps away from her home.
I think it will improve the community,” said Bezaras. "They're knocking down all these buildings and they make it look better too."
Bezaras says the new addition will add a little excitement for kids and a green space in the city
"It will give kids something to do because there's really no parks around this area," said Bezaras.
The project Is spearheaded by Mayor Neil O’Leary.
“The south end community has been neglected for decades,” O’Leary said.
The mayor says a $3 million state grant will help with property remediation and create a better lifestyle for residents.
"DEEP has ground environmental concerns,” he said. "It's been a focus of this administration over the last eight years to infuse capital into the south end."
Many residents like Okechuku Nolism are noticing the changes.
"They started developing the Southside of Waterbury a lot now,” said Okechuku Nolism..
Nolism says the empty lot on Mill Street is the perfect place to build a park and play with his two-year-old son.
"It gives the kids a safe place to go and that's the most important part,” said Nolism. "We need things like that for the kids."
O’Leary says construction for the project is set to start at the end of the calendar year.