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Using money from a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant awarded to the town, streetscape work in Centerbrook, starting at the new Cumberland Farms and stretching to the Essex Steam Train, is currently underway.
This project includes new sidewalks on the South side of the street, as well as new curbing, new crosswalks, catch basin tops, and decorative street lighting to match Ivoryton and Essex villages.
Essex’s Town-Wide Transportation Study conducted in 2011 and its Town Plan of Conservation & Development completed in 2015 both identified as an objective a complete pedestrian network of sidewalks throughout town, connecting the villages of Ivoryton, Centerbrook, and Essex as well as the commercial hubs of Bokum Corner and the Route 9 Gateway. This work is part of that overall project.
“I am extremely proud of all the work we have done on the sidewalks in town, moving toward of the goal of one continuous pathway connecting all three villages with sidewalks,” said First Selectman Norm Needleman. “Having a completed, improved, suitable, safe pedestrian sidewalk network in town has been a goal of mine. New, improved, and usable sidewalks will promote the exploration of our historic villages and bring them together to enhance the sense of community, which is important to all of us.”
This phase of work, which began on July 9, is expected to be completed within two months. A town-wide email went out alerting residents in the area to the inconvenience and informing them that the work will include the operation of machinery from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.
Motorists have been urged to use caution when traveling through the posted work zones and asked to adhere to direction of signage, and local police along with flaggers are also in place.
The Essex town website reported this about the project, “Best efforts will be made to mitigate disturbance to property frontage. Lawns will be repaired with top soil and seed. If you have a sprinkler, dog fence, or any utility below ground [that] is not marked, please contact us. Reasonable accommodations will be made to schedules, but there will be short periods of time when owners driveways will be inaccessible due to pouring of concrete. Residents will be notified in advance of concrete pouring. Your patience throughout this project will allow for vast pedestrian and aesthetics improvement through the Centerbrook Village.”
Earlier this season, a few local, Centerbrook businesses expressed concern about the project and how the disturbance to the area may affect their business.
Needleman explained, “Before we do any work, we will be knocking on doors letting the residents and businesses know what is happening and what to expect.”
“I am definitely on board with the plan,” said Colt Taylor, owner of The Essex and Los Charros, “I know in the end it will beautify the area and help us all.”
Once the entire project is completed, there will be new, five-foot-wide sidewalks from Cumberland Farms to the Essex Steam Train entrance, new lighting in that area, a new water main, and a newly milled and paved road. The majority of the dead and dying trees will be removed and the area will be beautified and easily accessible to pedestrians, runners, bikers and more.
“Its been a lot of work, but in the end, it is making our town more united and beautiful,” said Needleman.
Those with questions or concerns about the project may contact Director of Public Works Ryan Welch at 860-767-0715 or email@example.com.
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