Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Devon Revitalization Construction Expects Delays

MILFORD — State funding cuts in the Devon Revitalization project will delay Phase 4 of streetscape construction, but the project’s committee “understands the situation,” said the city’s director of community development.

“When you see the dire straits the state is in, you can certainly understand that there are going to be cuts,” Robert Gregory said. “I think the committee is optimistic that, in the future, more money is coming.”

Project money was cut last month when Gov. M. Jodi Rell reduced the state’s budget and eliminated funding from initiatives across the state.

Adam Liegeot, a spokesman for the governor, said Rell felt it was necessary to cut funding to avoid increasing the state’s debt.

“Governor Rell feels that many of these proposed bond projects are worthy ones,” he said. “Just like families across the state, state government must make do with less.”

The loss will not affect current work being done for Phase 3 of the Devon Revitalization project, or installation of a new sewer pipe and construction of a small parking lot on Bridgeport Avenue, Gregory said.

Bridgeport contractor G. Pic & Sons is beginning work this month on sidewalks on Bridgeport Avenue between Kerema and Naugatuck avenues as part of Phase 3, he added. The firm already completed work on sidewalks lining Naugatuck Avenue as part of the project.

“It will be streetscape work and carrying out the same theme as we did on Naugatuck Avenue with brick sidewalks with diamond patterns, streetlights, benches, plantings, trees, and a bike rack,” he said of the project’s latest development.

Had the fourth phase of the project received state funding, the street work would have continued up Bridgeport Avenue to Doyle Funeral Home.

Phase 4 of the project probably will not see state money coming this fiscal year, Gregory said. The state had already granted earlier work $4.7 million, and any left over from current streetscape work will be used to continue the project.

“I don’t think (funding cuts) will have a major impact. The things that have been done so far were the entrance way with the clock and a new park, and the sidewalk and street lights will be really impressive once they’re done,” Gregory said. “It would be nice to have, but in this day and age, we can understand.”

Despite funding cuts to the streetscape project, Gregory said the Devon Revitalization Committee decided recently to purchase land for $160,000 in state funds at 120 Bridgeport Ave. to build a 12-space parking lot. A study two years ago determined more parking was needed. The lot will be free and available to anyone visiting Devon. It is located near Al Dente Italian Restaurant.

The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the work, and the committee will present it to the Board of Alderman next month.

The city also will begin design work for a larger sewer pipe and additional catch basins to be installed on Bridgeport Avenue. A study conducted last year emphasized the need for drainage improvements, Gregory said.

The city might be able to use federal stimulus money to fund the work and aldermen already authorized $800,000 in bond money.

“The drainage problem has been escalating over the years; it’s gotten really bad,” Gregory said. “Once they hire a firm to do design work, then the Milford part of it could begin this year if everything goes right.”

By Susan D Click HERE

CLICK HERE for Minutes From Last Committee Meeting

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