WILTON — Residents will hear about the Forster Mill cleanup Wednesday when the town holds a public hearing on the progress of the project at the large crumbling mill in the heart of downtown.

“(The Forster Mill) is more in a community area, so we would like for the local residents to be kept updated,” Town Manager Rhonda Irish said. “All too often it looks like the mill is just sitting there, but testing is being done and work is going on with the project.”

The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Town Office.

The vacant mill on Depot Street has been a focus on the town’s redevelopment radar for the last six years.

The town ultimately is aiming for full demolition of the building, which has been vacant since 2003. But before it can be torn down, an extensive environmental cleanup has to be done to remove a considerable amount of asbestos and hazardous waste from the site.

In order to be considered for brownfields cleanup grants run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental protection, the site has undergone two phases of assessments completed through the DEP. The phase one assessment was completed this summer, and the phase two assessment was completed earlier this fall.

Irish hopes to have complete results from the phase one hazardous-materials inventory assessment and the phase two hazardous waste-seepage assessment in hand before the public hearing.

Irish is working on drafting brownfields grant applications. If the town receives the grants, it would use the money for the asbestos abatement, environmental cleanup and ultimately for demolition of the building.

The amount of funding the project is eligible for through the brownfields programs be would be based on the DEP’s assessment results.

Depending on the results, Irish could apply for three $200,000 brownfields grants.

“We’ve honestly moved quickly with the whole process, because the brownfields projects take a while to do all the assessments that they’ve done,” Irish said.

The mill was foreclosed on last spring after its owner, Adam Mack, of Wilton Recycling LLC, failed to comply with a 2013 lawsuit brought by the town seeking an order of demolition. In March the town seized the property for failure to pay taxes, shortly after Mack filed for personal bankruptcy.

The town had been working with Mack to try to get him to do a proper cleanup of the site. Mack originally bought the building with the intention to sell it, but then presented a demolition plan in 2011.

The 2011 demolition was stopped when workers reported finding asbestos in the building. An inspection for asbestos was not completed before work began on the demolition of the mill, in violation of DEP rules.

“The mill has been a long problem and a recent acquisition,” Irish said.

The town is basing its goals for redevelopment of the Forster Mill on the recent success it has had with the brownfields cleanup of the former Wilton Tannery.

After the town acquired $200,000 in EPA and DEP funding, the environmental cleanup of the tannery site was completed this summer.

The site now is owned by a Wilton selectman and local businessman John Black, who is working to redevelop the former tannery into the Wilson Stream Business Park.