Preston – The Preston Redevelopment Agency was forced to cancel tonight's planned meeting to discuss possible future action on the cleanup of the former Norwich Hospital property now that voters rejected a proposed $8 million loan package for the project.
The meeting was never properly posted, PRA Chairman Sean Nugent said, so will be rescheduled as a special meeting Thursday at 5 p.m. at Town Hall prior to the Board of Selectmen meeting at 6:30 p.m.
Nugent and other town officials involved in the project declined to discuss possible options for continuing hospital property cleanup, reserving that discussion for Thursday's meeting.
The PRA will, however, hold a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Town Hall on three new federal Environmental Protection Agency brownfields grants for future cleanup. Those grants would total $200,000 each, and would be applied to specific parcels on the hospital property.
Nugent said the EPA grants must be confined to specifically defined buildings, thus limiting them to smaller and less contaminated buildings on the hospital property. The rejected proposed $8 million loan package would have funded demolition of the largest buildings on campus, including the Kettle and Lodge buildings.
First Selectman Robert Congdon expressed skepticism today in the wake of the referendum defeat on whether state and federal agencies would look favorably on Preston's future grants.
"I'd be very surprised, given the state of the economy, if the state or federal government is going to give funding to a community that is not willing to invest in itself," Congdon said.