One important point to keep in mind when considering the Meriden Green is that it is an associated benefit. It’s a lovely benefit, of course, but it is part of an overall effort that has as its primary focus alleviating flooding in the heart of the city’s downtown.
That perspective makes it easy to support the city’s plan to expand the Green, the first phase of which is scheduled to go before the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission today. The breakdown in spending, as reported recently in the Record-Journal, involves replacing the Cedar Street bridge over Harbor Brook as part of a $5.35 million flood control project of which the bridge replacement represents about $1.35 million, and an additional $2.3 million for site preparation, grading, Harbor Brook channel work and turf work.
As City Engineer Howard Weissberg told the R-J, once the bridge is replaced the next step can move forward, which is expanding the Green by removing Mill Street.
“Our game plan plan for this is probably a year and a half, two years away if everything breaks right in terms of funding, in terms of getting the Cedar Street Bridge completely done,” he said.
The work is designed to counteract the problem of Harbor Brook flooding during heavy rainfall. Replacing the bridge would involve closing Cedar Street for about nine months of the project. Along with a flood management permit from the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission, approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is required.
One way to look at the Green is to see it as a success that awaits further successes downtown — a revitalized center has long been a goal for the city, and flooding has long been an impediment. A step toward improved flood control and expansion of the Green is a step forward.