- Front Porch
MERIDEN — City officials are creating a plan for renaming the Hub site in the center of downtown.
The Hub, as it has been called since 1981, is being redeveloped into a central park that will double as an area for flood storage. The idea is to also provide some economic development space.
The 14.4-acre vacant parcel has been referred to as the “The Hub” or the “Meriden Hub” for more than 30 years, but city officials say that it may be a time for a change.
City staff is finalizing what will likely be a four-step process for renaming the property. In the coming months, the city will solicit proposed names for the park. The names will be shortlisted by the Hub Reuse Committee, with the public then given a chance to vote for their favorite name on that list. The committee will submit one to three names, the top vote-getters, to the City Council for final approval.
Images of the future park site will be posted online for city residents to view, in addition to information so residents can get a full understanding about what is being constructed. The plan calls for Harbor Brook to be exposed, a pedestrian bridge connecting Pratt and State streets to be built, an amphitheater, and other amenities.
“The goal is to provide an opportunity to as many residents and business owners as possible to get involved and vote anywhere they can, whether in person at some different businesses or on line,” City Councilor Cathy Battista said. “We want to make it so the public is excited, like we are.”
Battista, who heads the council’s Public Works and Parks and Recreation Committee, said the process for the renaming is still being finalized, but added that the committee seems in support of the basic plan. Also being discussed are monetary prizes and incentives, including those for submitting a name and getting it shortlisted, for viewing the “virtual tour” of the site and signing up for the city’s Facebook page, and for choosing the winning name.
Mayor Manny Santos said he is in favor of renaming the Hub as it undergoes redevelopment and the city looks to redefine its downtown.
“Right now the process is being ironed out,” Santos said. “I think it is a good idea. It gets people engaged and it’s something many of us are looking forward to.
Santos said he does not want to influence the process, but admits he is partial to the names “The Meriden Green” and “The Silver City Green.”
Construction crews have been active at the site over the last few weeks, tearing up pavement and removing all vegetation, including grass and trees. The former TD Bank was razed. A pre-construction meeting, which will include putting together a redevelopment schedule, is set for this week.
The full Hub redevelopment is expected to last about 18 months and cost close to $13 million. The renaming process will take place over the next few months and the City Council had 90 days beginning Dec. 2 to come up with a renaming process.
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