New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

Feature News

New Britain Central Park Work Concluding

In the next week, the Central Park area of the Streetscape Project is expected to be completed.

“Central Park will be completed before snow falls,” said Mayor Erin Stewart. “The finishing touches will be in the spring time, but everything including bricks will be in place.”

After bricks are laid, the City will stop construction for the winter.

Central Park will look very different and has been extended adding new trees and benches. Some of the possibilities at the park include having a temporary ice skating rink during the winter, food trucks, summer music concerts, and more.

“The changes that are taking place downtown will help unify the look of the area, make it more desirable to developers, expand opportunities for residents, and usher in a new era of popular city traditions,” said Mayor Stewart. “I want Central Park to be a magnet – a gathering place for families and a showcase for our city. The park should be a fun, friendly, vibrant place where people from throughout central Connecticut feel safe and welcome.”

Four years ago, the city received a planning grant to develop the Complete Streets Master Plan in an effort to make the downtown more attractive and pedestrian friendly. There are five phases to the plan, the central park renovation is phase three. More than three-quarters of phase three of the Streetscape will be paid for through federal funds.

A new Christmas tree, that is 34-feet tall, 16-feet in diameter, has 4,500 LED lights, and a five-foot tall silver star at the top, was placed at the park near the New Britain Police Department this year. Next year it will be in Central Park.

In the Spring, phase four work will begin which includes trees and new bricks going from West Main St. to High St.; Main St. to Columbus Blvd and Bank St. to Columbus Blvd.

Bus traffic will move from Bank St. to Columbus Blvd. Terminals will be moved and then there will be a round-a-bout put in on Columbus Blvd.

Phase five is the Route 72 Bridge. In order to make the Route 72 Bridge on Main St. less intimidating and more friendly it features beehives throughout the bridge and bees on the ends that will light up using LED lighting that is noticeable during the day and at night whether walking or driving underneath it. The new design will also help connect the Broad St. area of downtown with the Central Park area.

City officials will be meeting with Department of Transportation (DOT) officials this week to finalize the conceptual design plans for the Route 72 Overpass.

Stewart said she is hoping that will go to the bond commission for funding in January.

The City has received seed money for the project because it is around the CTFastrak and also two grants close to $2 million. About $1 million in grants are still being sought from the DOT before moving forward with the project.

The goal is for the bridge project to begin late Spring.