On the road: Selectmen back Kings Highway pedestrian, biking upgrades
Updated 8:48 pm, Thursday, October 17, 2013
A $1.2 million project, funded almost entirely by a state grant, would add sidewalks, bike paths and bicycle racks on a stretch of Kings Highway from Chambers Street to Brentwood Avenue.
The Board of Selectmen on Wednesday authorized First Selectman Michael Tetreau to accept the grant, though the request from Town Engineer Bill Hurley and Economic Development Director Mark Barnhart hit a brief roadblock during the meeting.
It wasn't the project itself that had the selectmen hitting the brakes, but the fact that no bond resolution accompanied the request. The grant requires that the town first spend its money and then be reimbursed.
The money has been accounted for in the town's capital projects spending plan, and Chief Fiscal Officer Robert Mayer said it wasn't necessary to have a bond resolution at this point. He said the $1.2 million would be included in the annual capital projects bonding package next year.
But the selectmen still weren't comfortable approving the project funding without the bond resolution and considering tabling the matter until their first meeting in November.
Instead, they decided to amend the resolution to read that the first selectman is authorized to accept and expend the grant money "with the approval of the appropriate bond resolution."
As for the project itself, with the goal of making the busy Kings Highway area more pedestrian-friendly and to encourage people to walk and bike to the Fairfield Metro train station, the selectmen were enthusiastic.
"I'm absolutely thrilled to see this project on the agenda," Selectman Cristin McCarthy Vahey said.
She said she attended an informational meeting on the project last summer.
"It was a nice cross-section" of the community in attendance, she said.
"We had a fairly good turnout," Barnhart said of the summer meeting. "Everyone expressed support and most wanted us to expand the scope of the project.
Hurley said the town plans to solicit design proposals for the project in January or February, with the design phase beginning in April and construction expected to end in March 2015.