For 32 years, Susan Zaleta has lived on Lewis Drive. And for those 32 years, she's driven past the traffic islands where Tunxis Hill Cutoff and Greenfield Street meet Kings Highway East on the town's eastern border.
Most of the time, they're overgrown with weeds, blocking motorists' views and just looking plain awful. They are, she said, an unwelcoming sight at one of the gateways to Fairfield.
So Zaleta decided to do something about it. It wasn't a simple process, she learned, because the roadway comes under the state's jurisdiction.
On a recent afternoon, Zaleta stood on one of the island's sidewalks, flipping through a stack of papers on her clipboard, a testament to the five-month process she had to go through with the state Department of Transportation to get permission to beautify the three traffic islands, and erect a "Welcome to Fairfield" on the main one. Insurance, bonding, maps and drawings were all among the hurdles that had to be addressed.
"I got so sick and tired of looking at it, honestly," Zaleta said. "Everyone goes through here; it's a very busy intersection, but nobody cares about this side of town."
Zaleta had tried previously just to root out the crop of weeds on the islands, but knew to beautify them for the long term, she needed help.
The two companies provided the cash for the sign, the plantings and the mulch, and Csizmadia provided the manpower. And now that it's done, he said, his company will take care of the upkeep.
Csizmadia said the actual landscaping took about two days. "The tree was overgrown, with branches all the way to the ground," he said of the arbor growing on the main traffic island.
"If it wasn't for Tom's help, this never would've happened," Zaleta said.
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