By Ed Harris
Downtown Plantsville business owners appear to be in favor of eliminating on the street parking in the area, a major proposal of the planned Plantsville Renaissance.
The on-street parking on the already narrow streets in the area has been a consistent safety concern, and many officials and merchants have expressed a desire to eliminate it altogether over the years.
Parking would be available in nearby current and future municipal lots. A proposed lot would be near Quinn’s Tavern. Southington Economic Development Coordinator Lou Perillo called the proposed lot a “catalyst” for the proposed renaissance.
“It’s just not safe at all,” said Sean Michanczyk, owner of Paris in Plantsville about the parking in the area. “It’s more of a hassle.”
Michanczyk said that students and patrons of his have lost the side mirrors on their cars due to the tight spacing.
Bob Celentano, owner of Plantsville Station Antique Shoppes, said he would be in favor of eliminating on the street parking, as long as there is an alternative.
The two Plantsville business owners, along with others, commented on the parking issue during a recent Plantsville walkthrough hosted by the Southington Chamber of Commerce.
The town is working on securing grants to officially begin the renaissance project, though some local developers and business owners have already begun improving the area on their own. The project would be similar to the one done in the center of Southington.
The project, which has been scaled back from its original scope, would include widening the sidewalks and including benches and lampposts. The new scope of the project would run from the drug store to the trail, officials said.
Two overlooks, or viewing platforms, would also be included along the West Main Street bridge, which would provide an area to relax along the Quinnipiac River.
The proposal also calls to remove on street parking. This would allow for the extension of the sidewalks further into the street.
“The plans are drawn, the issue is funding,” said Perillo.
Southington State Rep. Dave Zoni, who attended the walkthrough, said he would do what he can in Hartford to have possible grants released.