By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
Beacon Falls, Prospect, Bethlehem, Oxford and Southbury are among 17 towns and cities across the state that were awarded a total of $8.2 million in grants from the state Department of Transportation.
Beacon Falls and Prospect each received $600,000. The funds are from the Community Connectivity Grant Program, which is aimed at helping improve accessibility and mobility, including bicycle and pedestrian safety.
“We were happy to see we were awarded the grant that we applied for (last year),” Beacon Falls First Selectman Gerard Smith said. “We’re looking forward to putting some much-needed upgrades into Main Street. All of Main Street needs some love.”
The funds are part of a matching grant, so the town will put forward roughly $200,000, Smith said.
He noted the funds will make Main Street more pedestrian friendly with redesigned parking and pedestrian access.
“We’re going to look at all the options to use the money to get the best results for North and South Main Street,” Smith said. “Hopefully we’ll have a clear direction of where to spend it in the spring or summer time.”
Prospect Mayor Robert J. Chatfield said the grant will help develop another sidewalk connectivity project on the north side of Union City Road from the Route 68 intersection stretching to Old Schoolhouse Road.
“I’m very pleased and it will make the center of town a little safer,” Chatfield said.
The town recently completed a connectivity project that included a 5-foot-wide sidewalk extending 4,500 feet on the west side of Route 69, also known as Waterbury Road, from the intersection of Route 69 and Route 68 to 73 Waterbury Road. The project included three crosswalk signals on Waterbury Road.
Bethlehem received $204,105 for sidewalk improvements; Oxford, $489,621 for its Little River Nature Preserve and Municipal Center, and Southbury, $444,946 for pedestrian safety improvements on Main Street South.
“These road improvement projects are smart investments that will further enhance our state’s quality of life,” Gov. Ned Lamont stated in a news release Thursday. “These projects will not only make our neighborhoods safer, but will support the growth of the economy while also becoming more pedestrian-friendly and more environmentally conscious.”