MERIDEN — The Meriden Green was recently recognized by the Connecticut Main Street Center as a catalyst for economic growth downtown.
The $14 million flood control project exposed Harbor Brook and converted the former Meriden Hub site to a sprawling park, which opened in September.
“It reinforces what most people agree was just a phenomenal accomplishment,” said City Manager Guy Scaife. “This is just one more confirmation that it really was a big deal and outsiders see it that way... I would hope that the local folks will see it and share in the pride of the accomplishment.”
Winners of the Connecticut Main Street Center 2017 Awards of Excellence were announced last week, with Meriden receiving the CT Main Street Catalyst Award. The award also recognized the city’s partners, including the State of Connecticut, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, Meriden’s Flood Control Implementation Agency, engineering firm Milone and MacBroom, AECOM and La Rosa Construction.
Other winners include the cities of Bridgeport, Hartford and New Britain.
The Meriden Green project stood out because of it was designed to ease flooding and spur economic development, said John Simone, CEO of Connecticut Main Street Center. The statewide nonprofit focuses on creating vibrant downtown areas by working with municipalities.
“Rather than just turn it into a flood control situation, they turned it into this very beautiful green that will be right next to the commuter rail stop for the Hartford Line,” Simone said. “Meriden has put a lot of energy and focus and resources into turning downtown around and I think it’s doing a lot of the right things.
The success of the Meriden Green project bodes well for further downtown development, said Economic Development Director Juliet Burdelski.
“I would say this is really a once in a lifetime project, so it’s nice to be recognized,” Burdelski said. “Having the downtown park right next to the train station and new developments is really giving a lot of momentum to our downtown redevelopment.”
An official award ceremony will be held May 18 at 5 p.m. at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.