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An additional $50,000 will supplement a current streetscape project to improve both safety and aesthetics near the entrance to Fairfield Hills off of Wasserman Way.
Fairfield Hills Authority members on May 22 voted to contribute to the project, funded primarily through state grant money. Members intend their funds to go toward lighting, in an overall effort that will improve fencing, sidewalks, plantings, lighting, and more.
“Part of our function is to make [Fairfield Hills] safe and beautiful,” said member Phil Clark. He motioned to put $50,000 from a special revenues fund toward the streetscape, which members favored unanimously.
In early 2016, Newtown was among 15 communities qualifying for a state Small Town
Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant. Newtown received $500,000 targeted for the campus, which will underwrite procurement and construction of additional sidewalks and lighting primarily around the gateway entrance to the campus off Wasserman Way. Officials conducted a ceremonial groundbreaking in early May. Bids to complete the work all exceeded grant funding.
Funds will help bridge a gap of more than $100,000 between the $500,000 grant and the lowest qualified bid for $613,580, according the discussion at the authority meeting. Chairman Ross Carley had proposed the authority’s funds go toward lighting.
Mr Carley welcomes the improvements to an area where many will soon drive through to visit an upcoming new community center and senior center facility. He also noted there are “people here all the time” using a trail circling the campus. Regarding Fairfield Hills as a place of interest to developers, Mr Carley said, “The place is on the move. I have hopes in the next year.” Fairfield Hills is “finally becoming a destination,” he said.
Hosting the May groundbreaking was Newtown’s Deputy Director of Economic & Community
Development Christal Preszler and assistant Kimberly Chiappetta. The new streetscape features will be primarily underwritten by the state grant from an application that Ms Preszler authored on behalf of the town when she was a part-time staffer and grant writer for the Fairfield Hills Authority.
Besides creating a more attractive main entrance, streetscape improvements would also enhance accessibility and safety for those crossing between Reed Intermediate School and Fairfield Hills.
Additionally, fencing will be installed to improve safety between a soccer field and street and in a newly opened green space area at the entrance where Danbury Hall once stood. This area, near Wasserman Way, is often used for special events, including a farmers market, and the fence will ensure safety.