“I don’t understand how the landscape can be put off for the health of the plants but work cannot be put off for the health of the businesses,” President Tricia Cunningham asked Groton Planning and Development Director Mike Murphy.
It was one of a number of questions downtown Mystic businesses owners and a few residents asked Groton Town Officials at a Friday morning meeting designed to give updates on the Mystic Streetscape Project.
The streetscape project, , but has suffered delays that also coincided with bridge repair and a recession.
Frustrated business owners, some of them saying , asked Murphy and Project Manager Rick Norris when they could expect work causing major traffic congestion in downtown Mystic to end, what happens if the project keeps running into delays and why communication with the business owners hasn’t been better.
And even though the meeting lasted an hour, business owners didn’t get a lot of firm answers to their questions.
“You have to understand we are working hard to get out of there, but there are things beyond our control,” Norris said.
This week the Mystic Streetscape project saw delays from that caused Connecticut Light & Power crews to work there instead of on the power lines in downtown and found contaminated soil that needs to be evaluated by an environmental professional, and rotted pipes.
“There is delay after delay,” Donna Williston of responded. “It sounds like circumstances are calling the shots.”
Williston wanted to know what happens if there are more delays especially as the is rapidly approaching.
“You do realize what July and August means for us,” Williston said.
Earlier this week business owners
Murphy said that if the town puts the project on hold, there could be financial consequences such as rising labor costs.
The landscape that Cunningham asked about isn’t considered major work so that can be put off and since it’s now past planting season the plants would die.
Murphy said he was 100 percent expecting major work to be done by June 30, but he added “if we find problems we have to deal with them.”
One of those major problems seems to be uncertainty over when paving will begin and how long it will take.
Norris said next week there would be a meeting with the Connecticut Department of Transportation and contractors to determine if paving would begin on June 18 or June 25 and how long it will take.
Business owners expressed frustration over the lack of communication of project delays and were concerned that if paving does not begin until June 25 it could go into the July 4 holiday.