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Demolition could lead to depot

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A long-shuttered Bridgeport arms factory at 889 Barnum Ave. began a new path when demolition commenced at the site recently.

The Remgrit site – the former Remington Arms facility – could become the site of a new East Side train station.

“A second train station in Bridgeport will be an engine for economic development for the East Side, East End and the entire City, that is why we have worked so hard to make the P.T. Barnum Train Station a reality,” said Mayor Bill Finch. He called the new station “exactly what our city needs.”

After a year-long study funded by state and federal initiatives that involved community stakeholders and regional experts, the Barnum Station technical and community advisory committees determined it is feasible to construct and operate the new P.T. Barnum Station on the site of the former Remington factory in the city’s East Side. This proposed new station “would improve transit and serve as a catalyst for redevelopment in the East Side, East End and adjacent neighborhoods by creating jobs and providing additional housing options close to transit.”

Among the parcels on the site to be included in the demolition and remediation are a 57,600-square-foot manufacturing building and an 8,800-square-foot boiler building. J.R. Vinagro Corp., of Johnston, R.I., is handling the demolitions and remediation project.

In 2011, then-state Rep. Andres Ayala secured $1 million in bond funding to help pay for the demolition and remediation. In 2013, he secured an additional $1.5 million in bond funding for the project.

“With the commencement of this demolition, we have taken yet another positive step forward on project that will result in a tremendous asset to the City. In addition to the progress we’ve made on the P.T. Barnum Train Station, we are also cleaning up a site that has been an eyesore in the neighborhood for decades,” Finch said.

A feasibility study for a second train station, funded by a federal multidepartment federal grant through the New York-Connecticut sustainable communities program, was completed earlier this summer. Barnum Station is envisioned as an anchor for mixed-use development on adjacent parcels and is a key element of the city of Bridgeport’s sustainability plan: BGreen2020.

The Remgrit site once housed one of the largest munitions plants in the country.

“This critical revitalization of the Remington Arms property will work in conjunction with development going on across Bridgeport to greatly enhance the quality of life in the Park City,” Ayala said. “The proximity of this property to the Steel Point project will make it one of the most important developments in the city, and I look forward to seeing this space put to use.”

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