OLD LYME — Last year, the town received a $400,000 Community Connectivity grant for installing sidewalks, signage, and “beautification” along the northern “Gateway” portion of Hartford Avenue in the Sound View neighborhood of Old Lyme and a nearby section of Shore Road — the maximum amount available from the program — and town officials are deciding what additional steps and town funding will be necessary to take full advantage of the state grant.
The Community Connectivity Grant Committee met on Aug. 12 to discuss the design and engineering Request for Proposal, which yielded proposals from five engineering firms. On Monday, the committee interviewed the three lowest bidders that also met the requirements of the bid proposal. The three firms were: BSC Group of Glastonbury, which designed the sidewalks for the lower portion of Hartford Ave; Anchor Engineering of Glastonbury, which has worked for town landfill; and AI Engineers, Inc., of Middletown.
“They all submitted complete presentations and each one brought something different to the table,” said Frank Pappalardo, chair of the Sound View Commission and a member of the grant committee.
A sidewalk would be installed on the west side of Hartford Ave. from Bocce Lane to Shore Road and a section of Shore Road from the police station to Cross Lane.
The base bid for the sidewalks was equal to or less than what was originally budgeted, which would result in not using the entire $400,000 grant. The additional project along Shore Road would use up the grant but will require $5,000 to $10,000 from the town above the $30,000 already approved by the Board of Finance.
“Adding those few extra dollars, which is out of the pocket of Old Lyme, we will be able to use the entire portion of our grant — if we don’t use the entire amount then we lose it,” said Pappalardo. “Our opportunity now is to use as much of that grant and get as much work as we can done for the money that we’re getting.”
Even if sidewalks are not installed on Shore Road, the engineering study will provide information for future development projects, said Pappalardo.
“If we’re unable to get a portion of Shore road because of financial constraints, we will have the engineering study already completed so that as people develop portions of Shore Road we can include that in the development package,” said Pappalardo. “It’s definitely very, very beneficial to the town to come up with that extra $10,000.”
Ongoing drainage issues on the west side of Hartford Ave. will also be addressed during the sidewalk installation, he said.
Sidewalks would be installed on the north side of Shore Road, but could also be installed on the south side near the EZ Mini Mart Food Store.
“We have crosswalks already to the north side, anything we can do to enhance pedestrian traffic on the north side is certainly beneficial since we have the grant money to do it,” said Pappalardo.
It was not clear when the sidewalks would be installed nor how the project might affect the future construction of sewers in Sound View, but Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, chair of Connectivity Grant Committee, who attended the commission meeting, said she was impressed with the presentations from the engineering firms.
Each firm wants the job and most were really well-prepared,” she said. “I think we have a really exciting opportunity for the town.”