The City is one step closer to redesigning downtown’s streetscape.
Urban Engineers Inc. has been hired for the design portion of the project.
Mark Moriarty, public works director, said in the next couple of weeks the Downtown Streetscape Working Committee will meet to begin the process.
Members of the committee include Gerry Amodio, Downtown District Director; Steve Schiller, City Planner; and Patricia Kirkwood, City Engineer.
“We will meet monthly to review the design,” said Moriarty.
The City has been awarded several projects to redesign downtown including a $1.3 million sustainable regional planning grant and a $110,000 Preserve America Grant.
More grants are on the way as the City has applied for several transportation grants for over $12 million.
According to Moriarty, these grants are available because of the new New Britain/Hartford Busway Project.
“The project is from the courthouse to Broad Street,” said Moriarty. “It will really have a consistency for our streetscape for downtown and include the Route 72 bridge overpass. It is an exciting project. Probably one of the most exciting things I have ever worked on in my career.”
Moriarty said a lot of input from City residents will be accepted through various public meetings during the process.
“We need a lot of community involvement,” Moriarty said. “This will change how downtown looks.”
The committee will look at things such as aesthetics, parking, traffic and safety for such items as pedestrians crossing streets.
Alderman Michael Trueworthy said he would like the project to extend all the way through Ellis Street if there is enough funding.
“I would like to see it go through the area near the Rock Cats to make it more aesthetic,” said Trueworthy. “I am happy to see this. A bunch of people have been hoping for this.”
“Most of the money we have right now will go towards planning,” said Mayor Timothy Stewart.
He said other towns will also get money from the sustainable community grants from the Busway Project and construction will go all the way to Enfield.
“We are further along than most communities,” Stewart added. “Berlin will also get funds for their train station on Farmington Ave.”