With major parts of the Mystic Streetscape project winding down, angry but resigned downtown Mystic business owners met with Groton Town officials Friday for an update.
“I think the town is rallying here at the last-minute and I appreciate it,” said Rod Desmarais, of . “It seems there were lapses in planning, lapses in execution, lapses in oversight. Who is accountable?”
It’s a question that's been on the minds of many as the project has encountered delays, tied up traffic, But it’s a question without an easy answer.
Groton Planning and Development Director Mike Murphy said the town doesn’t have total control over the project as it relies on contractors. Groton Mayor Heather Bond Somers asked business owners to understand they are doing everything humanely possible to get the project done.
On Tuesday the Groton Town Council will meet to try to secure $55,000 from the town’s enumerated fund to provide free parking through July at the . Somers said she also wanted to work with merchants to create some sort of celebrate Mystic event to try .
But getting people to come to downtown Mystic might take more.
“Maybe," said Melissa Seifert. “I'd love to take my two and four-year-old girls downtown more often while we are still living here in Mystic." She said they used to spend a lot of time downtown, at the bookstore, eating ice cream and watching the boats go by.
"But time and again we are forced to keep driving when there is no place to park and sidewalks are all torn up," she said. "Sad.”
In Patch’s unofficial poll, about would not get them to downtown Mystic.
“I just hope they can get here if there is free parking,” Genevieve Triplett, of said.
Mystic Streetscape Project Manager Rick Norris said that while he doesn’t have a crystal ball, should be over be June 30. Paving is scheduled to begin on June 27 and should be done by June 29. If it rains or there's another unforeseen delay, paving would wait until after the July 4 holiday.
While the town waits on paving it is also waiting for utility work from Connecticut Light & Power and AT&T. After utilities are in place, the utilities poles would have to come down before the lampposts go up.
Norris said he is hoping to work with the utility companies to have that work done before 11 a.m. so it wouldn’t tie up traffic.
“There still a lot of questions on getting from Point A to Point B and all I can do is keep pushing,” Norris said.
The streetscape project, .
“The goal is minimal impact in July and August,” Norris said.