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Backers of Historic Cheshire Factory get State Loan

Ball and Socket factory loan awarded to company formed by Yale drama instructor and New York City Ballet personnel.

A company called "Ball & Socket Arts Inc." has conditionally been awarded a nearly $1.7 million loan to redevelop the historic and long-abandoned Ball and Socket factory at 493 West Main Street.

The announcement on Friday from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy states that the $1.68 million loan from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) would be used to acquire, assess and demolish some structures on the site. The loan must still be approved by the State Bond Commission.

"Ball & Socket Arts Inc." was formed last September, according to the Secretary of the State. The principals of the company are Jeffrey Guimond who lists his address as the New York City Ballet and Ilona Somogy, an instructor at the Yale School of Drama. Both grew up in Cheshire.

Cheshire Economic Development Coordinator Gerald Sitko said Friday that the town has made preliminary inquiries with the state about applying for a brownfield remediation grant to help clean up the factory site. Under the state regulations, a private comapny can't apply for brownfield grants, but a municpality can, Sitko said.

"Obviously, if (the factory) is developed for the use they envision, it's terrific news for the town," Sitko said. He mentioned the ongoing streetscape improvements on West Main Street and the planned extension of the Farmington Canal Rails to Trails pathway which would be located directly across the street from the factory.

The 3.2 acre site contains the 1850 brick factory building and a number of wooden outbuildings. The property has been on the market for about a year for $1.25 million. 

Sitko said despite the loan being announced, the property has not yet sold. 

Elizabeth March 24, 2012 at 01:51 PM
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a successful vote of the Bond Commission.
dee smith March 24, 2012 at 09:27 PM
someone is making $$$ on this. I believe the property was originally sold for $25,000. Our hard earned tax $$$ at work

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