WALLINGFORD — The town has put down millings for a new temporary parking lot along Wallace Avenue that will add 79 spaces downtown.
The foundation for the new lot has been laid, and the town plans to paint stripes and add a layer of chip seal next year to make the surface more stable, according to Town Engineer Rob Baltramaitis. While the lot is not striped yet, Baltramaitis said, it is open to public use.
The new parking lot is being put in on the east side of Wallace Avenue, across from the existing temporary parking lot behind the police station. The area where the lot was created was previously occupied by overgrown vegetation.
“During times of overflow parking, people were already using that area that was really kind of unkempt with overgrown vegetation, so it really cleans it up and formalizes it and makes it safer,” Baltramaitis said.
In 2013, the town spent about $200,000 to add about 100 temporary parking spaces on Wallace Avenue behind the police station.
The town will add a coat of chip seal and stripe both parking lots next year. Safety lights will also be added to the parking area, Baltramaitis said.
The chip seal is placed on the road millings, which are pieces of asphalt recycled from other projects, to protect the surface from winter weather and snow plowing, Baltramaitis said.
"It gives a more stable surface than just the millings themselves," he said.
The new parking lot was approved earlier this year by the Planning and Zoning Commission as part of a larger plan to raze the decrepit C.F. Wooding building located behind the police station and build a new 3,600-square-foot storage shed for police to store emergency equipment.
Police need the new storage building because it currently stores equipment in the basement of the Spanish Community of Wallingford's building, 284 Washington St., and the town plans to use that space for more programming for SCOW and the CT STEM Academy, which shares the facility with SCOW.
Maria Campos-Harlow, executive director of SCOW, said both SCOW and the STEM Academy have significantly grown over the years.
Police Chief William Wright said the new storage shed will make the department more efficient because equipment will be stored in one place rather than being spread out.
"I'm trying to economize and create some efficiencies by getting us all to one location,” Wright told the Planning and Zoning Commission in August.
Wright also said the shed could cut down on repair costs of emergency service equipment, some of which is currently stored outside and deteriorates faster than usual.
Wright said the department has had to spend money on repairs of relatively new equipment in the past as a result of weather damage.
”The time has come and if I don't move this gear into good storage, I'm going to start to really spend a lot of money on maintenance of it,” Wright told the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Storing emergency equipment outside in the winter can also pose a problem if a vehicle has to be dug out of snow before responding to an emergency.
The town will pay $164,732 to Morton Buildings Inc., a Massachusetts contractor, to construct the storage building.