BRISTOL – The city will hold a public information meeting about the proposed addition of sidewalks on Shrub Road on July 14 at the Barnes Nature Center.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the nature center at 175 Shrub Road. The purpose of the meeting is to review and discuss the proposed project.
Mayor Jeff Caggiano said that there is a great need for sidewalks on Shrub Road to make it safer for pedestrians to walk.
“Anyone who has driven up Shrub Road knows that people go through that area very quickly,” he said.
Caggiano said that he is hopeful that this proposed project continues to move forward. There are several potential funding sources, including money provided via the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IAAJA), which the city may be able to use to offset costs.
“This funding has been all about supporting making communities safer to walk,” said Caggiano. “It will also dovetail nicely with the Pigeon Hill project where the Environmental Learning Centers of Connecticut is taking over land. We want to be able to connect open space land with our neighborhoods and areas like the public housing on Shawn Drive.”
Caggiano added that $1.2 million in ARPA funding is also being used to create the Harry C. Barnes Memorial Nature Trail, a handicapped accessible nature trail, in the wooded area along Shrub Road.
Following the public information meeting, Caggiano will be looking into whether the city can get the project fully or partially funded via grant money.
“The LOCIP (Local Capital Improvement Program) grants are 50/50 matching grants and they probably take a year and a half to go through,” he said. “But, I think we might be able to get this project through faster.”
Scott Heth, executive director of the Environmental Learning Centers of Connecticut, which includes the Barnes Nature Center, said that he is supportive of the project moving forward,
“It will allow people to walk to the Nature Center, Seymour Park and the Pigeon Hill property much safer,” he said. “This is something that we have been talking back and forth about with the city for a while. With the traffic on Shrub Road, it is almost impossible to walk down the street safely.”
Heth said that he would favor a trail through the Shrub Road area as opposed to a city sidewalk parallel to the road.
“I would like a trail that meanders a bit and is made of asphalt instead of concrete,” he said. “It would be more pleasant to look at. But, I understand that the city has to speak with engineering and maintenance consultants. I’m looking forward to providing my input at this meeting.”
Caggiano said that Heth’s proposal to create such a path is “not a bad idea”
“My son used to ride his bike through the area all the time,” he said.
For more information, call Public Works at 860-584-6125 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.