The Streetscape Working Group is pushing to get a $3.2 million FTA Livability Grant to keep progress moving forward on the project.
Residents can write a letter of support for the project that can be sent in to the FTA in order to help the City receive the grant.
“They recognize we have a very strong application,” said Mark Moriarty, public works director. “They have received over 100 applications. We are trying to think of ways to nudge them even more.”
So far, money received is going towards a park/parking lot project next to the new police station on Main St., parking and streetscape design near the police station and wayfinding signage. These parts of the project will begin some time this year and early next year.
But, some parts of the project still need funding to be completed.
On Monday, the group held an informational meeting for the public to introduce ideas and plans already established by the group.
Most in attendance were pleased with the progress.
“I think it is very exciting. A new future. A new outlook,” said Roy Rothkopf, owner of City Luggage/Imperial Trophy on Main St. “This is a new positive and enlightened New Britain. I hope it will bring the people downtown. The key is to reinvigorate.”
“You have a great team and the plan is wonderful. I’m excited about the future,” Adrian Baron, who is an attorney on Broad St. told the group “I’m really happy that you are incorporating the Little Poland area. We have seen a lot of growth over the last five years. To finally see the downtown brought together is wonderful.”
Mayor Tim O’Brien said there are a lot of parts of this plan that are very exciting.
“There is a lot that we need to be able to do as a community to be able to capitalize on the large investment the state is making in the busway project,” said O’Brien. “We need to make sure our community is set up so we can gear up for the success we hope to have.”
He said the improvements of the central commercial area and its vision is key to be able to attract business investments.
“The arts can make the downtown a very interesting place,” said O’Brien. “It will make our downtown more pedestrian friendly.”
Moriarty said one of the aspects that helps the City is that you can walk to everything you need in downtown in just five minutes. That has already been created so the project needs to just incorporate other aspects to make it work.
Some of the plans include making the streetscape user friendly, adding continuity, redesigning Central Park, putting a roundabout around Chestnut and the Harry Truman Overpass and new signage.
“When downtown New Britain was constructed and reconstructed nobody every took a step back and made sure that it was all done under the same plan,” said Moriarty. “Each area was done as a separate project.”
The group has been working on a plan since October.