Southington Town Council frustrated by lack of progress on downtown project

Southington Town Council frustrated by lack of progress on downtown project

reporter photo

SOUTHINGTON — Town leaders are working to interest a local developer in the stalled Greenway Commons residential project downtown.

Town Council Chairman Chris Palmieri said during Monday’s meeting that getting the vacant land developed was a “priority for all of us.”

Last year, a New Jersey developer slated to take over the Greenway Commons project declined to pursue the deal and instead bought an Eden Avenue condominium project from local developer Mark Lovley. Earlier this year, Greenway Commons property owner Howard Schlesinger, of Meridian Development Partners, said he had six local and national parties interested.

Councilors have said they’re frustrated at the lack of progress.

“We want some life back in that area,” Palmieri said. “We are certainly aware of it and we’re advocating for some good development on behalf of our town.”

Plans approved in 2007 called for 263 owner-occupied residential units. In 2016, the planning commission approved changes for Greenway Commons which allowed Meridian to build 180 apartments and 65 condominiums.

Palmieri said he and council Vice Chairwoman Dawn Miceli met with a local developer recently.

The Town Council appointed councilor John Barry to the Greenway Commons improvement district board, a group that meets once a year as required by a state land remediation program.

Town Manager Mark Sciota said there’s a fund of about $400,000 for cleanup if development occurs.

”Since nothing’s happening with Greenway Commons, nothing is happening with the tax district,” he said.

Councilor Michael Riccio serves on the district board but his term expires this month. The board’s meetings typically last “five minutes,” Riccio said, due to a lack of business for discussion.

The former Ideal Forging plant was demolished. The property required remediation from industrial contamination. If more contamination is found during construction, the state money can be used to remediate them.

Money that’s not spent on cleanup can be used for public improvements on the property such as roads or sewers, according to Riccio.

Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

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