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September 16, 2014

Six area towns share in $5M grant pool

Berlin, Farmington, Newington, Rocky Hill, Vernon and Windsor are among a municipal baker’s dozen awarded $5 million in state grants to promote job-growth and development within their borders.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the grants Tuesday to 13 municipalities as part of the state’s Main Street Investment Fund, administered through the state Department of Housing.

“These grants are a great way for the state to support our cities and towns in their efforts to develop and improve their commercial centers,” Malloy said.

Awards are no more than $500,000 and can be used for expenses such as building improvements, signage, lighting, and streetscape improvements, he said.

The funded projects are:

  • Berlin has been awarded $204,300 for the second phase of the Berlin Main Street Streetscape project. The project will continue new sidewalks, permeable pavers and street trees on the New Britain Road and Farmington Avenue sides of the Kensington Center Triangle. A new crosswalk and a permeable paver accent walk will be installed around Deming Park at the Kensington Road entry to the triangle. Also, a permeable paver accent will be added at the Farmington Avenue entry to the triangle, as well as new decorative lights throughout the project area.

  • Bethel will receive $290,149 to improve the town’s commercial center. The project — to include new sidewalks, accessibility ramps, signage, streetscape, and safety improvements — will create a walkable and ADA compliant downtown by improving public safety and pedestrian access, creating a community gathering place, and increasing recreational opportunities.
  • Coventry will use its $405,000 award to implement various elements of the South Coventry Village Plan. The plan calls to extend the sidewalk on Main Street to serve town hall, the police station, Orchard Hill Active Adult Community, a day care, and a church; make improvements to the historic Tracey Shoddy Mill; and create a pocket park by Teleflex Medical on Main Street.
  • Farmington plans to use its $425,000 award to implement recommendations of the comprehensive design plan for the revitalization of Unionville Center. Along the northern side of Rt. 177, the town is proposing a complete streetscape project of 1,900 linear feet, linking the New Horizons Village to Unionville. As part of this project, a loop of improved sidewalk will be created along Mill, Platner, and School streets. The improved sidewalks would promote greater pedestrian accessibility, improve aesthetics, and increase foot traffic to the various businesses in the area.

  • New London has been awarded $500,000 to improve pedestrian access to businesses in the downtown commercial area. Funds will be used to complete improvements along Eugene O’Neill Drive, transforming the car-focused thoroughfare with difficult to find parking with directional and way-finding signage, improved lighting, enhanced pedestrian connections, and trees appropriate for an urban setting. Activities will include site improvements, sidewalk improvements, site planting/lighting, etc.

  • Newington will begin the next phase of the Town Center Development Program with its $470,000 award. Plans call for improved pedestrian connectivity between the “Constitution Square” municipal parking lot and existing businesses on Main, Market Square, and East Cedar streets with nearby senior and workforce residential buildings on Constance Leigh Drive and the retail Plaza on Lowrey Place.

  • Norfolk will use its $500,000 award to convert a five-acre wetland, meadow, and hillside — colonized by invasive plant species — into a storm water park called City Meadow, complete with boardwalks and resting places utilizing low-impact development techniques. This innovative project will save a threatened pocket of wetlands and allow residents and visitors to pass through to appreciate the diverse ecosystem. Project activities include restoration of wetlands, pond creation, stone swales/site stabilization, public access improvements, retaining walls, trails, timber bridges/decks, and landscaping.

  • Pomfret was awarded $166,000 to go toward construction of a sidewalk to provide a safe, inviting link from two private schools, numerous churches, and the public library to the town’s unique village district that houses numerous businesses. The sidewalk will run along a street that provides a direct link from the town green and the village district. Landscaping and uniform signage on public buildings throughout the town will create a sense of unity and identification.

  • Rocky Hill will continue the town’s effort to re-create its town center with its award of $422,551. Project activities include re-aligning portions of the Silas Deane Highway, decorative crosswalks and intersection treatment, decorative traffic islands, landscaping, street furniture, and pavement overlays. The project design elements will enable pedestrians to easily and safely utilize alternative modes of transportation by easing access to the existing bus transit system operating within the project area and Silas Deane Highway corridor.

  • Seymour will receive $375,000 to make the downtown area compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The plan calls for replacing trees whose roots are displacing the sidewalks. Funds will also be used to replacing lighting fixtures that are 20 years old and inefficient, saving the town about 77% in energy costs.

  • Vernon received a $400,000 award to promote redevelopment efforts the downtown area in the Rockville section of town. The project, which will include replacement of windows and doors, exterior clean up, and installation of streetscape elements, will encourage further development around the existing transportation node and nearby a major transportation corridor, conserve and restore cultural and historical resources, and reuse a brownfields site.

  • Wilton plans to put its $425,000 award toward the Wilton Center Sidewalk Restoration Project throughout the town center. This project, which will address various safety concerns related to ADA, providing public sidewalks within the vehicle travel way, dovetails with other completed downtown improvements such as the installation of benches, concrete roadway curbing, 75 decorative street lamps, seasonal flower pot arrangements, and the 2010 completion of the Veteran’s Memorial Green.

  • Windsor was awarded $417,000 for improvements in the commercial, civic, and cultural center of the town. Funds will be used for construction of a new sidewalk along Mechanic Street and Batchelder Road, granite curbing, street lighting and other incidental improvements in Windsor center, an area where three state highways converge and contains an AMTRAK passenger rail station that will be upgraded as part of New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail program.

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