STAMFORD — Inside Mill River Park, the sounds of cars and people on the city streets around it fade away, and all that can be heard is the running river and chirping birds.
It was that peacefulness that drew Monique Robinson and her 2-year-old son to the park on a recent Monday morning.
“We always come by the water,” the Stamford native said as she and her toddler sat along the river’s edge. “I really like the park. Before I never came around here.”
More than a decade ago, the park was a magnet for illicit activities, everything from loitering to prostitution. Then the Mill River Park Collaborative formed.
The organization began raising funds and a plan was put in place to reclaim the area around the river. Two years ago, thousands of new shrubs and 400 trees, including 70 cherry trees, were planted on 12 acres that were opened to the public. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
Colony Street project in Meriden underway
MERIDEN — After several delays, work on a new parking garage and mixed-use building at 24 Colony St. is underway. The project is still expected to be completed by November 2016, a city official said Monday.
The Meriden Housing Authority and Branford-based Westmount Development Group are overseeing work on a $24 million residential and retail building, and are also partnered with the state Department of Transportation for the construction of a $8.3 million parking garage at the corner of Church and Colony streets. Work began in recent weeks and housing authority Director Robert Cappelletti said it will continue this week with geothermal welding, followed by the beginning of foundation construction. The geothermal work involves drilling the channels for heating, cooling, and hot water utilities, Cappelletti said.
The site was formerly a parking lot which city officials closed in February, anticipating that construction work would begin imminently. In February, work was delayed because application approval from the Department of Housing and Urban Development took longer than expected. The construction of the residential building is part of another plan to raze the Mills Memorial Apartment complex. Twenty-four of the Mills apartments will be relocated to 24 Colony St. As Section 8 housing, the plan needs federal approval. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
HARTFORD — A bonding bill that provides the first five years of funding for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's ambitious transportation infrastructure initiative passed through both the House and Senate during Monday's special legislative session.In addition to the $2.8 billion that will be paid out over five years under Malloy's transportation plan, starting with $275 million in fiscal year 2016, the bill includes more than $5 billion over two years for capital projects throughout the state.
Although the legislation passed largely along party lines in the Senate, with three Republicans siding with 21 Democrats, it soared through the House with bipartisan support with a margin of more than 100 votes.
Supporters said the transportation funding will improve Connecticut's infrastructure and employ residents. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
Demolition deemed necessary at InterRoyal site in Plainfield
Plainfield town officials held a public hearing on June 22 regarding updates on the Brownfield Assessment study being conducted at the former InterRoyal Mill site. Soil, groundwater and sediment contamination had been discovered on the 16-acre site during studies stretching back several years. The last was conducted in 2006 when debris was removed from the site after a fire broke out in a four-story building. The current $200,000 EPA grant-funded study is meant to fill in the data gaps, according to First Selectman Paul Sweet.
Nineteen areas of concern have already been identified where contamination is known or suspected to exist. They include basement floors, fuel pipeline trenches, and areas where metal office furniture was degreased, rust-proofed and plated. Hazardous waste storage areas, two reservoirs and a paint sludge area will also be tested for contamination.
John Meyer, the principal engineer with BL Companies that is conducting the study gave the presentation. "Our job is to identify the limits and the types of contamination," he said. "Once we have that, we can come up with a clean-up estimate." CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
Developer eyes former Stop & Shop site in Hamden
HAMDEN >> The approvals of two housing projects on Mather Street have renewed interest in the vacant Stop & Shop property at the corner of Dixwell and Putnam avenues, according to economic development officials. A developer interested in the site will be submitting design plans, according to Economic Development Director Dale Kroop, who discussed the site with members of the Legislative Council Monday night during its committee meetings.
If it comes to fruition, the business the developer envisions for the site would be a smaller use than what Stop & Shop was, he said, but would breathe new life into the plaza.
The former grocery store space has sat vacant since Stop & Shop pulled out two years ago, and since then the center has gone into foreclosure. But since the two projects on Mather Street — one with 393 units, the other including 77 units — were approved, interest in vacant buildings in the area has increased, Kroop said. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE