Power Plant Proposal Withdrawn in New Milford
The Town of New Milford and its mayor, David Gronbach, have withdrawn the “Panda Proposal” to build a power plant on the former site of the Century Brass Mill. The site encompasses 72 acres of industrially zoned property along the Housatonic Railroad, recently cleaned up from PCBs after three decades of abandonment and pollution. Under the proposal, Panda Power Funds, based in Texas, had offered to purchase the site from the town for $2.8 million to create a 550-megawatt, natural-gas burning power plant.
“When I took office last year, I was thrown into controversy with the Century Brass property. The prior contractor was rejecting the contract it signed and the Town was facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in change orders. I quickly got up to speed, re-bid the project and hired a new contractor. Today the site is well on its way to being cleaned up. This also required me to focus on what to do with the site after it was cleaned,” Gronbach wrote in his announcement.
“The Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development identifies the Century Brass site as one of the main growth areas for industry and manufacturing in our Town,” he continued. “I know the idea of additional industry scares some people, but it is part of a balanced approach to tax revenue that does not put such a heavy burden on homeowners…Given that neither the majority of the community nor its representatives on the town council support the power plant, I will be withdrawing the Panda Proposal to develop the Century Brass site…We have important matters to work on including infrastructure projects, riverfront development, library modernization, Lanesville Fire Department expansion, empty store fronts that need attention, and the upcoming budget season.”
There was widespread concern among residents and local businesses about the impact of the potential project on New Milford, which was vigorously expressed during multiple information sessions held by the town and Panda representatives.