Downtown infrastructure upgrades taking longer than expected
Published 12:25 pm, Monday, July 6, 2015
It’s noon and Mike Sullivan steps outside Oscar’s Delicatessen on Main Street and surveys the scene. Right at the front door are bricklayers installing another stretch of sidewalk, part of a multi-faceted project to renew downtown infrastructure.
“It’s the town’s decision to do it, so it’s got to be done,” Sullivan said Thursday of last week. He said some of his customers have made comments about the work, but few complained.
He said the company putting in the new sidewalks, Giunta Bolduc mason contracting of Westport, has been trying to avoid creating impediments for customers of the deli.
“They’re doing an excellent job,” Sullivan added.
Besides the brick sidewalks, the project includes new granite curbing, tree grates and new energy-efficient lights/lampposts that are designed to complement the town’s historic character. The project also includes replacement of the existing “highway type” lights.
The public works improvement project also includes planting new trees along Main Street and the addition of an underground electrical conduit
The downtown project is moving along, but is taking a lot more time than anticipated, said Steve Edwards, public works director. He said that’s caused by conflicting information about utility services. He said there was a lack of detailed information about utilities were located. “Every time we turn around, CL&P is here,” he said. But, he added, “It’s no show stopper.”
Edwards said officials initially thought the project, which actually started later than anticipated in the spring because of lingering bad weather, would be completed by the end of June. He’s now hoping to finish the work by the latter part of August.
The infrastructure project, which includes Main Street, Elm Street and sections of Post Road, is partially funded by a grant of $497,595 from the state's Main Street Investment Fund awarded to the town in July 2013.
Local landlords will be contributing toward the cost of replacing sidewalks in front of their respective buildings.
Edwards said, initially about 60 to 80 percent of the business owners planned to participate, but now there is essentially 100 percent participation.