Groton, state will partner to redevelop former Mystic Education Center

Groton — The town has agreed to partner with the state to redevelop the former Mystic Education Center, which the state closed more than four years ago, said Paige Bronk, Groton's economic and community development manager.

"I think the town and the state have common goals in seeing that come onto the tax rolls and be developed," Bronk said.

The state owns the property, but Connecticut's Department of Economic and Community Development is trying to secure marketing and public outreach funds for the town, DECD spokesman Jim Watson said Thursday.

It's too soon to know how much money would be available or when, he said. But the idea is to help the town determine the best use for the 50-acre site, Watson said.

"Their main desire is to have the property reused, redeveloped, and almost any use that the community believes (in) is acceptable," Bronk said.

A feasibility study of the property supported a mixed-use development as an option, but the property could also have a single use as a school, housing development, recreation program or specialized camp, he said.

"It's state property, and we'd love to see something positive happen there," Town Manager Mark Oefinger said.

The education center, formerly called the Mystic Oral School, served as a residential school for the deaf from 1895 until 1980. 

It was later used by the various groups, including the Groton Recreation Department, Special Olympics, and business and youth sports groups needing practice fields.

The state notified Groton via a letter in 2011 that the state would close the campus to save an estimated $400,000 per year in operating costs.

A popular swimming program that used a pool on the campus had to move out.

d.straszheim@theday.com

Twitter: @DStraszheim

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