Downtown business joins in spearheading redevelopment effort
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Jewett City - posted Wed., Nov. 9, 2011
A Main Street business has joined Town Hall in volunteering as a prototype for the redesign of Jewett City’s business district. Town officials and citizens attending an Oct. 27 informational meeting learned that Masse Insurance, located at 108 Main St., has agreed to have its façade redesigned as part of the downtown revitalization project.
The town plans to use $200,000 in Small Town Economic Assistance Program funds to spruce up Main Street and make it more inviting to visitors. A long-range plan has been formulated by landscape architecture firm Kent & Frost of Mystic. According to Kent & Frost principal Brian Kent, the plan will start out with small improvements such as benches, planters, trash receptacles and flags.
Later phases could include crosswalks with contrasting pavers, “bump-outs” at crossings to aid pedestrians, and improved light fixtures to focus light on the sidewalks. The firm also presented tentative plans for a walking trail along the Quinebaug River in the neighborhood near the former Town Hall building.
Kent said that changes in façades and in signage could add ambience to Main Street and enhance its historic character. An architect’s rendering of the Masse redesign depicted a plan to remove the rustic awning over the storefront and dress up the modern-looking brick exterior with new doors and woodwork.
Just one block down on Main Street, the town itself also plans to lead the way in the project by redesigning the front of Town Hall to create a mini-town green. Plantings, trees, benches and an information kiosk will take the place of the present large parking area. Kent said that while a few parking spaces will be lost, improvement of parking areas to the rear of the building will make the loss negligible.
This first phase of the project carries a $66,950 price tag, not including installation costs. First Selectman Philip Anthony said that some of the installation work could be done by town maintenance staff to keep costs under control.