EDITORIAL: 8 things we liked this week

EDITORIAL: 8 things we liked this week

We liked this week

Despite several setbacks, the 81-unit townhouse and mid-rise project at 11 Crown St. in downtown Meriden should be completed in June, according to the developer. “The town homes are nearly complete. Inspections and some utility work are all that remain,” said Andrew Davenport, vice president of development for the Michaels Organization. The development will consist of 25 Section 8 units, 49 units considered affordable and 17 market-rate units.

A polluted factory site in Southington, closed since 1989, could see life again this year as a local developer plans a commercial plaza for the North Main Street property. Through a complex deal signed Tuesday involving the town, the state, a nonprofit and builder Mark Lovley, the property could go from contaminated and encumbered with tax liens to a tax-generating, developed property. The abandoned Beaton & Corbin factory caught fire in 2003. Industrial contamination will cost at least $1.1 million to clean up.

The University of Connecticut, one of many public research schools across the country facing lower government funding, released a report Tuesday saying it generates about $5.3 billion for the state of Connecticut each year. The internal economic impact study looked at everything from the jobs and new businesses spawned by the school’s research, to the medical care provided at UConn Health, to the effect the school has on nearby restaurants and vendors at its campuses.

Saturday marked the start of this year’s Connecticut Winter Wine Trail passport program, which includes two Wallingford vineyards. The program, much like the summer passport program, encourages people to visit wineries across the state for a chance to win prizes. The trail will continue through April 11. There are 14 vineyards participating throughout the state, including Gouveia Vineyards, 1339 Whirlwind Hill Road, and Paradise Hills Vineyards, 15 Wind Swept Hill Road.

Workers from Maynard Road Corp. used a new technique Monday for pouring two foundations that could significantly reduce energy costs. The foundations at the $2.2 million Hanover Place housing project for veterans were made with insulating concrete forms instead of a typical wood frame. The nine-unit veterans housing project on Hanover Street will use geothermal technology and solar panels to provide even more energy savings. Hanover Place was first proposed by the Meriden Housing Authority in 2010 but was on the back burner waiting for funding until 2017 when the state Department of Housing awarded $1.65 million.

Meriden plans to clarify and simplify rules regulating the raising of chickens on private property. Currently, requests for keeping poultry are handled on a case-by-case basis through the Zoning Board of Appeals. “The Zoning Board of Appeals can be kind of intimidating for a normal citizen who wants to keep six hens in their backyard,” said Assistant Planning Director Paul Dickson. “We want people to know the proper and best way to keep poultry and we could keep (approvals) at a staff level.”

State officials agreed Friday to enroll more than 1,000 new students in magnet schools as part of a milestone agreement in the decades-long Sheff vs. O’Neill school desegregation case. The agreement dedicates 600 of those seats to the more than 12,000 children who attend struggling, segregated schools in Hartford. The agreement with civil rights attorneys also includes a commitment by the state to overhaul how it awards seats in magnet schools. That plan will address the backlog created when thousands of children were turned away from integrated schools and left on the waiting list each year.

Meriden police have identified the mother of a baby that froze to death after being abandoned in a South Meriden parking lot 32 years ago this month. The break in the investigation came through the use of advanced DNA testing, Police Chief Jeffry Cossette announced during a press conference Tuesday. Police interviewed the mother, who will not been charged with a crime, Cossette said. She was 25 when she abandoned the baby in the parking lot of a machine shop on Evansville Avenue.