Town history a focus of Berlin development meeting

Town history a focus of Berlin development meeting


Chris Edge and John Bernick talk about the train station area at the second transit-oriented meeting. Wednesday, Jan. 25. | Ashley Kus, The Berlin Citizen

BERLIN — A recent meeting on future transit-oriented development near the new train station drew questions about a recent fire that destroyed the 116-year-old train station next to the new one.

“We need something that will really move people,” said Lorraine Stub, secretary for the Berlin Historical Society.

Since the train station burned down more than a month ago, the society has been circulating a petition to rebuild it. The building, leased by the state Department of Transportation, is scheduled to demolished.

John Bernick, DOT assistant rail administrator, said the land will be leveled once the station is knocked down.

“We need to make it presentable and safe,” he said.

The new station, located just off Farmington Avenue, is being built as part of the new Hartford-Springfield line and has recently been a focus of development ideas.

In October CivicMoxie, a consultant team hired by the town and funded by a grant, held its first public meeting to discuss transit-oriented ideas.

The second meeting on Wednesday had an emphasis on keeping the history of the town intact.

“Using history creates a sense of place,” Stub said. “People don’t want cookie cutter.”

Susan Silberberg of CivicMoxie agreed. She said data collected during October’s meeting showed a majority of residents want to keep historic buildings.

Other improvements suggested include better “walk-ability,”good restaurants and more green space.

“It’s about putting those puzzle pieces together,” Silberberg said.

Apartment complexes and businesses are being considered along Farmington Avenue. Silberberg said there is a market for empty nesters and millennials.

The consultants said they are looking at several main sections of the Kensington Village area. Town land, formerly intended for a new police station, is being considered to develop. Depot Crossing, across from the train station, is also a possibility.

Chris Edge, town economic development director, said Wednesday’s meeting was a starting point for development in the area of the train station. 203-317-2448 Twitter: @KusReporter

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