Esty, Army Corps official tour downtown Meriden

Esty, Army Corps official tour downtown Meriden

MERIDEN — Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, Col. William Conde and Meriden city officials toured the downtown area recently to discuss completed and ongoing projects.

Conde is a district commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New England.

“He’s having a chance to see first hand the great work that’s been done here at the Green,” Esty said.

Esty, Conde, and city officials toured the downtown on Tuesday, finishing at the Meriden Green and Silver City Bridge.

“It’s a gathering place, it becomes really a central point and a selling point for the city,” Esty said. “It not only solves a (flooding) problem, but it creates something beautiful in the process.”

In 1992 and 1996, floods from the then-covered Harbor Brook caused about $30 million in damage to the downtown area. In 2005, the city took possession of the former Meriden Hub as part of its flood control plan.

For several years after demolition of the mall, the property was a large parking lot before it was transformed into the Meriden Green.

Construction began on the 14.4-acre park and flood control basin in November 2013.

In 2015, Harbor Brook was uncovered. The next year, the Green was completed and opened.

“The locals really like these green spaces,” Conde said. “This one is designed very well.”

Director of Public Works Bob Bass said a state grant will allow the city to replace sidewalks surrounding the Green in the spring. Last week, the new Meriden train station’s platforms and pedestrian bridge opened, but there's still work to be done before the entire project is complete.

Dozens of new apartments are also coming to downtown. Meriden Commons I is expected to be completed early next year, and construction on Meriden Commons II will begin soon after.

More than 80 mixed-income apartments will be built on the site of the former Record-Journal building, 11 Crown St. City Planner Bob Seale said developers hope to begin construction in January.

There are also plans to turn Pratt Street into a tree-lined, two-lane boulevard, which will serve as a gateway to the city.

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