June 6, 2014 11:17AM
By Mary Ellen Godin
MERIDEN — LaRosa Construction Co. has begun digging a channel through the center of the Meriden Hub site to divert three brooks into one flowing stream, the first step in turning the former industrial and commercial property into a downtown park.
“It’s going to get crazy,” said job superintendent Peter Haber. “It’s getting hot, but we don’t mind after this winter.”
“If you punch through the concrete, you’ll see the brook,” Haber said. Harbor Brook flows from the northeastern corner of the 13-acre parcel under the Mill Street bridge and winds its way through to the southwestern tip. The flow line is marked with stakes, and excavation for the channel to contain the new stream has started. The existing pipe will be removed.
Jordan Brook flows to the east along Pratt Street and the three brooks will be redirected to flow into Harbor Brook.
“There is a whole plan on how to handle the water,” Haber said.
Part of that plan includes digging retention areas to divert the water as work progresses and the culverts and pipes are removed.
But there is more work to be done before that can happen, Haber said.
Front loaders and excavators are still digging soil to be placed in a hopper and screened for rocks, brush, and concrete. The contaminated soil is under tarps and will be trucked to the contaminated “tire pond” site on the North Haven-Hamden line, where it will be used as fill. The excavation and channel work is expected to be completed in July 2015, when the site will be landscaped as a park and an amphitheater built in the northwestern corner.
City officials are pleased with the progress.
“They started doing the unearthing of the culvert to an area up to Brook Street,” said Public Works Director Bob Bass. “In the center of the park they did the channel work, to see how difficult it is to excavate.” So far everything has been easy to dig.
“The project is on schedule and proceeding as planned,” said City Manager Lawrence Kendzior. “We are very pleased with the progress to date. Opening up portions of the brook is another milestone achieved in the project schedule.”