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Mystic Streetscape Project Likely Won't Be Done By June Deadline

The Good News? Additional Recovery Act Monies Coming

The June 30 deadline for the will likely come and go with a healthy list of things to do remaining, the Groton Town Council learned Tuesday night.

“We’re working hard with the contractor (Pettini Contracting Corporation). We may not be as far along as we’d like … looking at the 30th of June, it’s really pushing it,” said Streetscape Project Manager Rick Norris.

Norris said the among other items.

“We’re going to keep pushing,” said Michael J. Murphy, Director of Planning.

There is some good news for the project and the town.  According to Murphy, because of an ARRA surplus, the town will receive an additional $461,200 in federal funding for the project. In January of 2010, Groton agreed to accept $3.1 million in ARRA monies, now with the new funding authorized by the Council Tuesday, the project will be fully funded.

But councilors had questions about the project.

“What about Bank Street,” Rita Schmidt wanted to know, citing miserable and unsafe conditions for drivers. Norris said the intersection with West Main Street would be widened.

And Councilor Dean Antipas had concerns about the lack of street lighting on a downtown side street.

“We’re working to get that back,” Norris said, adding the town is “working hard” with CL&P as well.

Meanwhile local merchants and visitors alike are frustrated with the pace of the project.

“What I find really frustrating is (that) with all the good weather, the mild winter they haven’t done anything really noticeable,” said Annie Philbrick, co-owner of Bank Square Books in downtown Mystic. “They should have taken advantage of (good weather) to get more done.”

Philbrick said Wednesday she has spoken with town officials and believes there’s “growing frustration” on their part as well.

“The longer this goes on, the greater the frustration,” she said adding that customers, “every one of them” complain about the traffic mess and lack of parking.

“I just smile. What can I say,” she asked rhetorically. “At least we know it’s going to be beautiful when it’s done.”

An elderly couple from New York said they were taking advantage of the unseasonable weather Wednesday and “just got in the car and came,” but were unprepared for “this mess.”

“You know, it’s just not as pretty here as I remember,” said Gerald Cavanaugh who said he and his wife hasn’t visited Mystic “in years.”

“It’s pretty much a mess here now,” he said. “But if you say it’s going to look good when it’s done then we’ll come back.”

Marie Tyler Wiley March 14, 2012 at 09:14 PM
i DON'T know construction...and it seems to me that the Stonington side of Mystic got their side done in 1/2 the amount of time and with minimal pain. I think having traffic lights is a good thing as normally the cops don't keep count and you can end up sitting through 2 rotations...which almost drives me INSANE! And since there is good news on the horizon... possibly they could now use the extra $461,200 to put BACK some parking spaces...OMG...it was a nightmare before and now it is pure hell! And I'm still wondering about Mike Noel's astute observation regarding emergency vehicles ability to menuver through what now appears to be a skinnier street.???
Marie Tyler Wiley March 14, 2012 at 09:17 PM
ps. why cant they bang it out 24/7? They should have been doing this from the get go. I've lost business due to out of towners not wanting to deal with the noise...and frustration of downtown Mystic.
deborahsteen@yahoo.com March 15, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Please, we need the street light restored on Gravel St. I hope this is the "side street" you are referring to in the article. There used to be a street light by the Municiple Parking lot, that is now being used by the construction crew, across from the First Church of Christ, Scientist at 5 Gravel St.
Ellyn Moran Santiago March 15, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Yes, Deborah it is Gravel Street and according to Rick Norris, they are working with CL&P on it. Keep us posted!
Jer Joplin March 15, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I try to avoid going across the bridge at all these days because it can take so long. And now we're talking about dealing with this mess into the summer? Businesses aren't just losing out on out-of-towners but on locals as well. And it's not just a matter of available parking- the stopped traffic at the bridge prevents anyone from getting in or out of what spaces there are. More than once I've decided I'd rather just keep driving than try to stop in that mess. And forget walking- cars are so (understandably) desperate to make it through the light on the bridge they certainly aren't going to take the time to stop for pedestrians.

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