WALLINGFORD — The town may gain several new public parking spots in the Simpson Court rear lot if a rerouting of underground storm water drainage is approved.
The Town Council is scheduled to discuss the proposal Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall council chambers. Public Works Director Rob Baltramaitis is slated to present the proposal.
Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said Monday that the approximately 52,000-square-foot lot of privately owned, publicly used space needs drainage repairs, including repairs to a catch basin on the 36 N. Main St. property, the location of Gaetano's Tavern on Main.
Permanent drainage easements are needed for the rear lot of 2 N. Main St., the location of TD Bank, 48 N. Main St., behind the Half Moon Cafe and Mr. D’s, and 60 N. Main St., the location of The Library restaurant.
The drainage would be rerouted either north to Church Street or south to Center Street, and the pipe that is currently used, which runs under the Holy Trinity School property, would be sealed off.
The retaining wall between the school and the town parking would not be affected, Dickinson said.
In order to accommodate the repairs, the town would need to sign a new lease with the four property owners. Properties at 36, 48 and 60 N. Main St. are in the current lease, while 2 N. Main St. previously had canceled the lease.
The town would accomplish this by expanding the terms of the lease.
“Currently,” Dickinson said, “we have a year-by-year lease that allows parking there. That would expand to a 40-year term.”
The public parking area would be regraded and paved and the jersey barriers behind 2 N. Main St., would come down.
Changes behind 60 N. Main St. would create traffic flow between Center and Church streets.
Cost estimate to come
Cost estimates are not ready yet, Dickinson said, neither for the lease amount nor for the drainage repairs.
He did say that he expects the costs to be significantly less than the amount of earlier projects proposed there.
Under the new lease, the town would be responsible for maintenance of public spots.
In July 2014, the state denied the town a $500,000 competitive grant that would have funded the reconstruction of the Simpson Court rear parking lot.
The town also applied for the grant in 2012 but wasn't selected. The retaining wall on the Holy Trinity School property would have had to be repaired if the town received that grant.
The uptown and downtown areas have several parking lots, but there have been ongoing conversations around the quality of the lots, with maintenance and lighting as top issues.
The Planning and Zoning Commission approved new downtown parking regulations in January 2017, as part of the Plan of Conservation and Development.
Since then, changes to downtown parking include the demolition of the Wooding-Caplan building, which at one time was speculated to become public parking but ultimately went to the police department.
The former Brothers Restaurant also is slated to be demolished to create more downtown parking.
In 2017, a grassroots group of about eight private citizens—called the "Wallingford Town Center Collaborative"—worked with town departments to clean up and add green stripes to existing public lots, installing new parking signs and creating an electronic map of public parking areas.