MAYOR'S COLUMN: New Britain staying busy with number of improvement projects

Published on Sunday, 28 June 2020 21:02
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As we head into the busy summer construction season, I thought it would be an ideal time to get you up to up to speed on all of the projects taking place over the next several months. COVID has not stopped our public works construction schedule.

For the last several months, work has been continuing on Phase VI of the Complete Streets Masterplan. This $3.6 million grant-funded project involves making road improvements along East Main Street between Martin Luther King Boulevard and Main Street. Milling and paving will take place on Myrtle Street between Main Street and Washington Street. In addition to the paving, work includes new landscaping, brick paver sidewalks, granite curbs, ADA upgrades and more. This project will continue into next year. Work on Myrtle Street is almost complete and the contractor has recently started on the East Main Street section of the project.

Work is also underway on Phase VII of the Complete Streets Masterplan, which includes the area around Columbus Boulevard near the Harry Truman overpass, the north side of Chestnut Street, between Elm Street and Columbus Boulevard and on Herald Square. The improvements are similar to Phase VI, with new granite curbing, paver sidewalks, paving, new signage and new trees.

The 2020 milling and paving program will begin July 12, with $2.2 million set aside for roadwork. Several streets including Columbus Boulevard, Kensington Avenue, Lincoln Street, Kelsey Street, Beaver Street, West Street and Shuttle Meadow Avenue will be paved. In all, 32 City streets, for a combined 7.7 miles, will be repaved by the end of the summer. Milling will begin July 12 and paving will start July 19, with the program running between six and eight weeks. Once the project begins, daily updates will be posted on our website under the public works section. Public works will also be doing crack sealing and trench repairs.

You may have noticed that there is a new traffic light at the intersection of Main Street and Lafayette Street, along with the replacement of some deteriorated walkways on Lafayette Street. The project was initiated to address pedestrian safety and congestion issues at this location. This intersection has had the most motor vehicle versus pedestrian incidents in the City and needed to be addressed.

At Stanley Quarter Park, work just wrapped up on the new playscape, walking path, pavilion and basketball courts. Public works also put in place a new entrance along Stanley Street. More work is to come as we work now on the pond dredging project and then we will be able to pave that bumpy park road! We will also be replacing the exercise equipment thanks to a grant from the health department.

Don’t forget to visit the new playground at A.W. Stanley Park down the road as well - thanks to a special donation from the Stanley Park Trust fund.

As you may have seen at our parks, we have updated our signage to create uniformity throughout the City. These signs are similar to the ones you’ll see at our schools. SignPro, Inc. did a fantastic job crafting these to match all of our original wayfinding signs seen all across town.

FYI: Funding is still available for homeowners interested in repairing the sidewalk in front of their property. This is a matching program and funding is limited. You can find out more information by contacting the Public Works Department at 860-826-3350.

Despite the challenging circumstances of the times, we are moving ahead with plenty of projects that will benefit both residents and business. We must continue to invest in our own City. As I have said before, developers are attracted to cities who are investing in themselves. It also creates for a better place for us all to live. We deserve the best New Britain, and our infrastructure improvements lead the way.

Erin Stewart is the mayor of New Britain.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Sunday, 28 June 2020 21:02. Updated: Sunday, 28 June 2020 21:05.