State commits funds for Prospect sidewalk project

Cars travel on Route 69 in Prospect. Prospect officials are proposing to build a sidewalk along the west side of the road using mostly state funds. -ELIO GUGLIOTTI

PROSPECT — With a promise of state funds in hand, local officials are proposing to build a sidewalk along a stretch of Route 69.

The town received word in a July 15 letter that the state Department of Transportation is committed to fund $752,288 through the Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program (LOTCIP) for the sidewalk project. The proposal is to build a 5-foot-wide sidewalk that’s roughly 3,100 linear feet long along the west side of Route 69, also known as Waterbury Road. Under the proposal, the sidewalk will be built from the intersection of routes 69 and 68 in front of St. Anthony Church to the entrance of Hotchkiss Field.

“This is something that I think is going to be a real positive change in Prospect and a positive addition to the community,” said Town Council member Carla Perugini-Erickson, who chairs the town’s sidewalk task force.

The task force has been working on the sidewalk project for the past several years. Over that time, officials completed a road safety audit and Milone & MacBroom, a Cheshire-based consulting firm that is working with the town on the project, did a conceptual study design for the sidewalk. The town applied for LOTCIP funding through the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments.

Under the program, the town is responsible for the cost of the design work. Milone & MacBroom has submitted a proposal to the sidewalk task force to do the design work for $77,700. The task force referred the proposal to the Town Council, which is scheduled to hold a special meeting and hearing Aug. 8 at Town Hall to discuss the proposal and project. The special meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. with the hearing at 7 p.m. The council is expected to take action on the design proposal following the hearing.

The council will have to authorize Mayor Robert Chatfield to sign the commitment letter, which has to be returned to the state by Aug. 14, and appropriate funds for the design work.

Milone & MacBroom also submitted a proposal to inspect the project during construction for $68,000. The fee will be negotiated as the project evolves, the proposal states. The LOTCIP funding includes $58,524 to cover work such as inspections and anything over would likely have to be covered by the town.

The sidewalk design has not gone beyond the conceptual stage. Officials anticipate the town will need at least two easements from property owners, including an easement from St. Anthony Church, and several utility poles or utility guide wires may need to be moved.

If the town moves forward with the project, Milone & MacBroom will do a preliminary design of the sidewalk that will go to an informational hearing and have to be approved by the DOT. Officials said the design stage will take about five to six months. If all goes as planned, the project will go out to bid over the winter, with work expected to start in the spring of 2020.

Perugini-Erickson, an attorney with an office on Route 69 along the proposed route of the sidewalk, said she sees people walking along the road all the time, including children walking to Hotchkiss Field. She said town has grown over the years, with Route 69 becoming more heavily traveled.

“It’s not the way it was when I grew up here,” Perugini-Erickson said.

Perugini-Erickson feels the sidewalk will make the area safer for people to walk and improve the aesthetics of the downtown area.

“There’s nothing more important to me than to say we’re going to make a real difference here in Prospect,” she said.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated from the version published in the Aug. 1 edition of the Citizen’s News to include information received after press time on the design proposal submitted by Milone & MacBroom and the date for the special Town Council meeting and hearing.