DECD grants Norwalk $2 million to clean up Ryan Park

The Ryan Park plan is explained in December at the Choice Neighborhood Initiative office on Water Street.

The Ryan Park plan is explained in December at the Choice Neighborhood Initiative office on Water Street.

NORWALK, Conn. – The state is awarding Norwalk a $2 million grant to deal with contamination in Ryan Park.

This is part of $6.9 million spread statewide to address brownfields “as part of the administration’s ongoing, unprecedented efforts to restore and put blighted properties back into productive use,” a press release from Gov. Dannel Malloy’s office said.

The 2.2 acre Ryan Park was closed in December when an environmental study being conducted by Weston & Sampson came back with more intense contamination than was expected.

The report of PCBs was a preliminary result of the Phase III remediation process, Jeffery Wilson of Weston & Sampson said, promising a full report in January.

The deadline has been extended, Norwalk Redevelopment Agency Senior Project Manager Susan Sweitzer said Tuesday.

“There was an extension of soil and groundwater testing. The Remediation Plan is just being finalized as we speak. I intend to bring it back for public review.  I don’t have a final estimate for the remediation until the Remediation Plan is accepted and approved by DEEP, but the $2M award is based on the initial cost estimates of last Fall,” she said in an email.

Almost everyone in Norwalk’s state delegation released statements Tuesday praising the award of $2 million in state grant money.

“South Norwalk has a long history of landfill practices and industrial uses that have left a residue of contaminants evidenced in soil and groundwater testing at this site,” State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) said in a press release. “This funding will make the Ryan Park safe for our children’s health and serve as a wonderful addition to the Washington Village redevelopment.”

“Continued investment in the Washington Village area contiguous to Ryan Park is more than just encouraging; the state’s ability to address brownfield s in urban districts is paramount for economic development,” State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140) said in the release. “I want to thank the Governor and DECD (Department of Economic and Community Development) for this funding. We will continue to work to remediate brownfields in Norwalk supporting the overall continued growth in health in the city.”

“The cleanup of the contamination of this park is essential if the planned renovations are to proceed,” State Rep. Terri Wood (R-141) said in a different release.

“Norwalk is an exceptional place to live and raise a family, and this grant will help us make it that much better,” State Rep. Fred Wilms (R-142) said in the release. “This park is a focal point of the community and I am pleased to see that we are making progress with its renovations.”

“This redevelopment project is good news for Norwalk,” State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) said in the release. “Local officials have worked hard to make South Norwalk attractive for businesses and new residents, and revitalizing Ryan Park allows the area to continue its resurgence. I am sure the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency will make the most of this grant in a way that improves the lives everyone who lives and works there.”

The South Norwalk park, at the intersection of Raymond and Day Street, behind the South Norwalk Community Center, is slated for renovations including an improved basketball court, lighted pedestrian pathways, water playscape, sculpture gardens and a pavilion, as part of the Washington Village reconstruction.

Of the $6.9 million in DECD grant money, $5.6 million is being awarded for the remediation and redevelopment of five properties, totaling 32 acres, the governor’s press release said. An additional $1.3 million is being awarded for assessments that will be completed toward the future revitalization of eight properties, covering a total of 392 acres.

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