By Ed Harris
The town has started to set aside $25,000 a year to address the cosmetic maintenance issues in downtown Southington. Town officials have divided the area into separate tiers and will concentrate on one tier a year, starting with the North Main Street area.
“Our downtown is literally the gateway to our community – I call the downtown and Plantsville centers our bookends – and it is vitally imperative that we maintain it in order to properly showcase our community,” said Town Councilor and co-chair of the Chamber of Commerce’s Central Business Alliance (CBA) Dawn Miceli. “Between the recent graffiti removal initiative and some simple upkeep projects that will be implemented over the next few weeks, we are renewing our commitment to our residents, visitors and business community that we are truly a destination location.”
A recent downtown Southington walkthrough, hosted by the CBA and Southington Chamber of Commerce President Art Secondo, highlighted some of the cosmetic work that is needed in the area.
These walkthroughs are part of the reason for the renewed monetary allotment to clean up downtown.
“Our walkthroughs are an enormous advantage in retaining the renaissiance upkeep and to bring attention to the town with problems downtown that would probably not be rectified within a reasonable amount of time.”
Some of the work cited included the repainting and other upkeep of the green benches, lampposts, metal tree gratings and garbage receptacles. These items are in various stages of corrosion and disrepair, and, in the case of the benches, have been in place for over a decade.
Moving down to Center Street, there are more cosmetic issues, including sidewalk, crosswalk and curbing issues, missing caps for pipes and litter accumulating in the grating around the trees.
Town officials believe that some of the curbing and crosswalk issues may stem to the harsh winter and heavy snowfall from two years ago.
Some work is currently underway. Town workers are taking the metal tree gratings, a half dozen at a time, and cleaning and enlarging the tree area.
“The town should do a spring cleanup,” said Town Manager Garry Brumback.
Brumback said this cleanup would include the cosmetic repairs to the planters, lampposts and benches, along with a once a year program to remove weeds along the sidewalks and buildings. It is up to the business owner to stay ahead of the weeds following the yearly removal.
Town officials have broken the downtown area into tiers. The tiers follow how the renaissance developed, going down North Main Street, Center Street and then down to Factory Square.
Brumback said the town had set aside $15,000 for maintenance work in the past, but the allotment had fallen by the wayside in recent years.
“It was not enough to do a quality job,” Brumback said of the smaller allotment.
The $25,000 allotment is available to the town as of July 1, as part of the new fiscal year’s budget.
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By Ed Harris