Main Street Chester Weathers COVID-19 and Construction

CHESTER — On Tuesday afternoon, downtown Chester was deserted and dusty, with construction cones dotting the excavated sidewalk that bordered retail shops closed by the pandemic and a few restaurants offering takeout.  For more than a decade, Chester has been a popular destination for eating, shopping and a popular Sunday Market, but now, under the double-yoke of the pandemic and Main Street Project, local merchants and property owners are by turns optimistic and frustrated about whether the town can regain its economic vitality. “The biggest issue in Chester is the main street reconstruction. It’s kind of a disaster right now,” said

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As Rumors Spread Across Social Media, State Police Tamp Down Protest Fears Along Shoreline Connecticut

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As social media posts spark a news story in the Hearst-owned Shoreline Times, and spread across social media, Connecticut State Police tamped down rumors of threatened looting at the Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets. “We’ve taken many calls, it’s definitely out there about Clinton Crossing, many people are calling us and asking questions. We’re trying to tell them it’s a precaution and we’re hoping nothing is coming this way at all. But we are prepared if something does happen,” said Sgt. Mark Devine of the Connecticut State Police, Troop F, by phone Saturday morning. Devine said that the State Police know

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Embattled by Coronavirus Closures, Chester Merchants Fear Added Impact of Main Street Construction

CHESTER — After weeks of delays and uncertainty, construction on the Main Street Project is scheduled to begin April 20. The timing of the project, originally planned to begin March 1, was concerning to many downtown merchants who feared that it would dampen business during the high season, from late spring to early fall. Now, with many businesses temporarily closed or curtailed by measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and with no clear time frame for reopening, the disruption of major street construction in the downtown shopping district has Chester merchants more concerned than ever. “Substantial completion” of

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Letter: “Plowing forward,” on Chester Main Street Project Puts Businesses at Risk

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As a commercial property owner, concerned for the downtown and its merchants, I write to express my ever growing concern that the Main Street project is “plowing forward” to be completed this year in spite of the mountain of uncertainties. To move ahead without detailed plans for all possible uncertainties is irresponsible. It risks intolerable delays, including the discouragement and elimination of traffic on Main Street for extended periods and forcing small business to close for lack of business. In anticipation, several businesses have already announced they are shutting their doors. Sadly, once people are forced to go elsewhere to

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Delayed Main Street Construction Raises Concerns in Chester, Merchants to Remain Open for Business

CHESTER — While bids are due on March 2 for the downtown area of the Main Street Project, delays have contributed an uncertain construction schedule that has left business owners and residents unable to plan ahead for spring and summer.  “Our merchants and property owners downtown are very nervous, understandably so. This is going to be a major disruption in the streetscape — sidewalks, drainage, paving, street — it’s a big project and it’s right in the heart of our village so they are looking for knowledge of exactly what is going to happen and we can’t give them that

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Wetlands Approval Poses Dilemma for Chester Housing Developer

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CHESTER — At its meeting on Monday, the Inland Wetlands Commission said the developer of Falcon Crest, a proposed 55-and-older residential complex at 88 Winthrop Road, will need to obtain a subdivision permit from the town before the commission will proceed with its recommendation on the project. If the town grants the subdivision permit, then developer Joseph Mingolello, principal of Connecticut Concrete Solutions LLC of Higganum, will be required to come before the Inland Wetlands Commission for approval of each of the project’s five lots proposed for the 34-acre triangular-shaped parcel bordered by Winthrop Road/Route 145, Butter Jones Road and

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Economic Development Commission Looks to Improve Approval Process in Chester

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CHESTER — The Economic Development Commission is pursuing the formation of a “New Applications Group” that would provide businesses and developers with a pre-application process for vetting ideas and plans prior to submitting a formal application.  “It is a best practice among communities that do economic development well,” said Patricia Bandzes, EDC member. “In Portland [CT], they call it the ‘development team’ and their motto is ‘don’t spend a dollar until you come see us first.’” The idea has been discussed at April, May and August meetings of the EDC, but has not yet gained traction with town officials and

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Developer Proposes 60-100 Condominium Project in Chester

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CHESTER — A developer presented preliminary plans for Falcon Crest — a substantial development for residents ages 55 and over, to the Planning and Zoning Commission Thursday night. The project, which is in the conceptual stage, is designed for between 60 and 100 condominiums in buildings of 10 units each on a 34-acre triangular-shaped site located on Winthrop Road bordering Deep River’s town line and abutting part of Old Butter Jones Road. “We’ve done everything looking at 60 to 80 units … so eight buildings is more realistic but 10 is max,” attorney Joseph Rini, who represented Joseph Mingolello, principal

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