NEW BRITAIN - With less than a week remaining before the official start of spring, another norâ€™easter has blanketed the region with snow, further pushing back plans of those waiting for a big melt.
The state has experienced three storms in about a week and a half, but city Parks and Recreation Department Director Eric Barbieri said they havenâ€™t impacted his crewsâ€™ preparation for spring and summer activities.
â€śMarch is always hit or miss. You donâ€™t know what youâ€™re going to get in March. It could be snowy or it could be nice,â€ť Barbieri said.
While recreation activities arenâ€™t affected by late winter storms, the snow is no friend to those working on outdoor projects.
â€śIt has slowed down, to some degree, the A.W. (Stanley Park) construction project just because theyâ€™re outside. The snow gets in the way and thatâ€™s not too convenient,â€ť Barbieri said.
The $5.5 million project, approved by the Common Council in September, will replace the parkâ€™s pool, repair its basketball court and add parking.
North Haven-based Banton Construction Co. is handling the job, and the pool portion of the project is expected to be ready to go by the summer.
Even with Marchâ€™s onslaught of snow, the project is progressing, the director added.
â€śThatâ€™s cranking right along, too,â€ť Barbieri said.
Marchâ€™s storms have also slightly delayed the opening of Stanley Golf Course.
â€śLast week, prior to that other storm, we were actually looking at March 16th to get the course open for the year. When we had that warm weather, we had gone out and done a lot of tree work and blew out the greens and were kind of getting ready for an opening,â€ť Barbieri said.
Barbieri said that, if the weather moderates over the next week or so, the golf course could see a late March opening, but as New Englanders know, the weather is unpredictable.
â€śWe have a million things to do to prepare for the summer so we can move onto the other things while the weather isnâ€™t cooperating,â€ť Barbieri said. â€śAs far as getting ready for the summer, I think weâ€™re in good shape.â€ť
For those hoping theyâ€™d be gardening this month, late winter storms may cause a change of plans.
â€śLate winter and early spring itâ€™s always a mixed box of what youâ€™re going to get,â€ť Joey Listro, founder of New Britain ROOTS, said.
New Britain ROOTS is a nonprofit organization that educates people about gardening, and healthful, sustainable eating. The organization promotes food security and works to make healthful food accessible in low-income areas. With a background in farming and agriculture teaching, Listro hopes to get more people in the city growing their own food.
Listro said New Britain is in Plant Hardiness Zone 6. The zones represent a standard by which gardeners and growers determine what plants to grow in certain areas, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The zone map uses average winter temperatures to determing optimal planting dates and locations.
â€śThe average last frost date is April 21,â€ť Listro said of New Britainâ€™s zone.
Listro said Memorial Day weekend and late May are popular starting times for gardeners. But there are still some things planters can do to prepare. Listro said he often starts plants in greenhouses, where the temperature can be controlled.
â€śItâ€™s never a good sign to start your gardening too early,â€ť Listro said, adding that outdoor gardens can still experience frost even if the weather looks as if it may be turning warm.
Listro said that cold winters with deep freezes tend to make for a good gardening season, though, so those eagerly waiting the warm weather can look forward to that.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.