Letter: EDC chair gives history of streetscape project

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To the editor,

In case you are wondering what is going on at South Main Street in Beacon Falls, here is a brief history of the Downtown Streetscape Enhancement Project.

To create a walkway going south on Main Street, federal grant funds were applied for in 2002. A federal grant totaling $702,000 was awarded to the town of Beacon Falls in 2003. After the Connecticut State of Transportation calculated its share for administration of the grant award, the town realized a net award of approximately $688,000. Since that time, additional grant funds were also received, bringing the total grant monies to $820,480. The town’s match was $205,120. The match money was all approved at town meetings.

Over many years since the inclusion of the Streetscape Enhancement Project as part of the overall Downtown Revitalization Plan, the public was made aware of the project via a public hearing, town meeting, Board of Selectmen and Economic Development Commissions meetings.

Unfortunately, it has taken many years for the project to get started. This is, due to the fact that the state of Connecticut Department of Transportation basically took over the project and worked with the town to hire a project manager and subsequently approved the construction company hired to do the work.

The Economic Development Commission wants to make it perfectly clean that this project, known as the “Streetscape Enhancement Project” is part of the approved town of Beacon Falls Revitalization Development Plan and is also a part of the Naugatuck River Greenway Walkway project which will run from Thomaston to Derby, as approved from the federal, state and local governments and various councils of governments.

We appreciate and understand your concern as to the disruption in traffic while under construction, once the project (is finished), you will be very proud of our downtown.

Thank you.

Anthony SanAngelo

Beacon Falls

Chair, Economic Development Commission

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m sure everyone would agree that a beautiful street-scape would be a sight to behold, and I’m sure everyone would agree that the pace of all things government leaves a bit to be desired, but everyone would also agree that the population has changed a bit on the past 8 years since the award of the grant. I’m not saying that the project is a good one or a bad one, but it’s not at all unreasonable to think that the most prudent (and most fair) move would be to ask the current people of the town how they really want to proceed now that everything is in place and truly in front of them. It’s almost ironic that Sunday’s Connecticut Post had an article about another valley town :

    “No one likes getting stuck in traffic, but with just two lanes and 20,000 vehicles traveling on it daily, chances are good it will happen to you — if you are driving on Main Street, in the city’s downtown.

    “A section of that road, also known as Route 34, is due for a major upgrade to ease that congestion.

    “We are adding a full three lanes — two through lanes in each direction and a combination median, which will be planted with grass, and left hand turn lanes with signalization,” said Rick Dunne, executive director of the Valley Council of Governments. “Basically, we are doubling the width of the road.”

    “A major cause of congestion on Main Street now is that there are no turn lanes currently on the street,” said Mayor Anthony Staffieri. “So many people use the road each day that there’s always backups, especially in the area from Bridge Street to Route 8.”

    “That’s exactly the area where the widening will take place — a length of about 2,340 feet — with the biggest widening between Elizabeth and Factory streets, Dunne said.

    “Preliminary plans for the approximately $12 million road widening project will be presented Tuesday”…

    (ONE CAN’T HELP BUT NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE IN COST TO WIDEN A STRETCH OF ROAD WHEN COMPARED TO THE COST TO MAKE ONE MORE NARROW.)

  2. Thank you Tony for the recap on this wonderful project.

    Critics (including some town officials) may need to step back to consider if they participated in any of the town meetings to vote on this magnificent addition downtown, soon to be complete.

    This street-scape is a ‘part’ of a bigger plan. The routing study for the Greenway running from Thomaston to Derby as Tony pointed out is complete. The next step is to go after grants to complete the Greenway. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to attend a presentation read about it on-line at http://cogcnv.org/greenway/

    Beacon Falls is one step ahead, having secured grants some time ago.The beautification of Beacon Falls downtown will draw people in to walk, bike, run and as a result grow local business. This is good for future residents—your children. Smart Development = Smart Growth.

    Now isn’t that what everyone wants to see, a beautiful street-scape downtown while local business improves.

    I for one look forward to a completed Greenway where my family and I can walk along the Naugatuck River in our own community, rather then traveling to the Collinsville Greenway.