The Downtown Streetscape Working Group announced plans Wednesday for a new park with a parking lot next to the police station on Main St.
The park may be temporary until the economy is better and a firm purchases the lot.
In the meantime, “We will have a small park and a lot to provide convenient parking on Main St.,” said Mike Cegan of Richter and Cegan. “There will also be a connection to the parking garage (on Chestnut St.).”
The police department area is the first phase of the project. The police department is expected to be completed mid to late summer.
“There will be special fencing and trees,” Cegan said. “A feature such as a sculpture or plantings will also be there.”
The plan calls for the relocation of the police memorial to be in the park and will have possibly a sitting area and about 32 parking spaces.
“We will have special paving like a yellow brick road leading people to the parking garage,” Cegan added. “It will maintain the streetscape feel with fencing and soften the park.”
Also discussed was adding special paving at the corners of Chestnut, Main and Arch Streets in order to reduce the walking distance to cross those streets. Cegan said the distance will be reduced by 60 percent because it is so oversized.
“It’s a significant change. It will have a more pedestrian feel,” Cegan said. “There will also be raised planters and a lot more green space. It changes the whole feel of downtown.”
Five to six different colored bricks about 4 by 8 feet would make up the paving and it would be outlined by granite curbs.
“The bricks are a traditional classic timeless brick,” said Cegan. “It has a subtle pattern that compliments the architecture rather than detracting from it.”
The crosswalks and bump-outs would have a herring bone pattern to the paving.
Discussion also involved the possibility of adding an outdoor patio area in front of Tools Bar and Grill and possibly relocating the art structure that is presently in front of the building.
“This area has great potential,” said Cegan. “It will make it much more of a public destination space. This space will be much more engaging and inviting.”
“The design around the police station will begin in the next two months,” said Mark Moriarty, public works director. “The main construction project will begin sometime in Spring 2013.”
The Streetscape Project presently has four grants for the project. A transit oriented development grant worth $750,000; a Transportation, Community and System Preservation grant worth $1.3 million; a CT Transportation Enhancement Program 2011 grant for $534,000 and a Bus Livability grant for $3.2 million. City investment for the project is over $2 million.
“We are fortunate to be able to figure out how we are using the grant money,” said Moriarty.