FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Better sidewalks, more greenery and improved lighting could be on the way for one section of downtown Fairfield. Community and Economic Development Director Mark Barnhart hopes to improve the streetscape on portions of Post Road to make them more pedestrian and business-friendly.
The $500,000 state grant would go toward new sidewalks, curbing and landscaping for the stretch of Post Road from roughly Thorpe Street to South Pine Creek Road. The town would also add more decorative streetlamps, benches and other furniture to make the area more attractive to pedestrians and visitors.
If Fairfield gets the grant, the revamped section of Post Road would resemble the rest of the town’s main business district to the east the project. Barnhart also said it could be tied into ongoing efforts to develop the area farther west along Post Road, which would connect into this project.
“If we had a plan in place, we might be able to work with private property owners and have them match or mirror the type of improvements that we’re looking for in terms of streetscape enhancements,” Barnhart said.
Barnhart said that the area west of the current Fairfield Center area was chosen because he had limited time to come up with a more thorough plan before the state’s application deadline, and he was able to build on an existing plan for that stretch of Post Road. He added that his department could consider similar projects in other areas in the future.
“There are several areas in town that I think are deserving of that potential,” Barnhart said Monday night.
Barnhart hopes to pay for the project through the state’s Main Street Investment Fund Program. The state government will issue $5 million in grants to towns that qualify as small towns around the state for renovations to downtown business districts like Fairfield Center.
The maximum amount that will go to any one town is $500,000. That amount should be able to pay for the materials needed for the project and the Department of Public Works would take care of the labor, Barnhart said.
The Board of Selectmen signed off on Barnhart’s grant application earlier this month. The Representative Town Meeting voted to do the same Monday night. The town will find out if it is going to receive the funding in early 2013.