PAL of Waterbury: Transforming Blight into Opportunities
With the assistance of Pullman & Comley’s environmental and real estate attorneys, the Police Activities League of Waterbury (PAL) has turned a failing organization into a vibrant center for over 3,000 inner-city youths, offering a wide range of activities from academics and gardening to sports and music programs.
For more than two years, our attorneys were involved in many aspects of this project including the negotiations to purchase the school building and field house from the Archdiocese of Hartford, purchase a warehouse which was later converted into a boxing facility, and negotiate the purchase of a large brownfield site. We worked with the project team to secure land use and environmental approvals and negotiated and drafted agreements with the environmental, demolition and site development contractors.
As the facilities were built, PAL created a number of unique programs, including a mentoring program which assigns Waterbury police and teachers to every PAL member, mandatory academic classes, after school homework programs, and mandatory parent or grandparent involvement. The results have been astounding, including a soaring rise in membership, a dramatic increase in overall academic performance, a decrease in the drop-out rate and a reduction by 50% in juvenile crime rates. Even with these successes, the expansion of the PAL facility will continue. Two years ago, with additional help from our attorneys, PAL purchased a large brownfield site and intends to turn the grounds into an athletic area which will include a baseball field, basketball and hardball courts, gardens and a walking trail. We also assisted the grant writer in preparing the Clean Up Grants application that recently awarded PAL with $400,000.
Receiving national acclaim, this brownfield remediation project together with the other PAL projects, have transformed a former blighted and crime-ridden area into a center for athletics, education and community participation.
"Waterbury PAL has enriched the lives of thousands of children and made our city a better place for all residents. I applaud Pullman & Comley's commitment to this organization and the dedication of its attorneys for their ongoing involvement."
Neil O'Leary, Mayor of Waterbury