Gov. Malloy: Middletown Waterfront Redevelopment Project Will Serve as a Catalyst for Culture and Commerce
(MIDDLETOWN, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Middletown Mayor Dan Drew and other state and local officials, today announced that the state will invest up to $2.6 million to advance the redevelopment of the Middletown Riverfront. Located on the Connecticut River, the City of Middletown has made the creation of a destination riverfront park and a modern boathouse/event facility a priority, and engaged residents and stakeholders in an inclusive, comprehensive place-making process with the help of a leading consultant, Project for Public Spaces.
"The City of Middletown is reactivating its riverfront along the Connecticut River in order to take full advantage of their location. Best of all, the city is getting residents - the people who live and work here and are invested in this community - involved in the process of planning for the future of their riverfront as a regional destination," said Governor Malloy. "With this investment in the Middletown Riverfront, we are reaffirming our commitment to supporting our municipal partners as they strive to make their communities more accessible, more walkable centers of culture and commerce. At the end of the day, we know projects like this will improve the quality of life in our towns and cities, encourage transit-oriented and economic development and create jobs for residents."
The Riverfront redevelopment project is a multi-phase investment being led by the city that will transform unused municipal property along the Connecticut River into a thriving park with a modern boathouse/event facility and spur the development of numerous residential and mixed-use projects in the surrounding neighborhood. The state awarded funding for the project based on its potential to serve as a model for other riverfront revitalization in communities around the state. The $2.6 million package of state funding for Phase I of the project includes:
$310,000 for final design of the boathouse/event facility;
$300,000 for full environmental assessment and site characterization of properties;
Up to $2 million for environmental remediation and clean-up.
"This state funding will help us kick off the centerpiece of our riverfront development and will have a lasting and important impact on our city and its economic growth," said Mayor Drew. "Thanks to these efforts, the people of Middletown, and our region, will see this development come to fruition sooner and at lower cost to local taxpayers."
"After much work by the delegation to achieve Middletown's entry into the Mattabassett District, I am pleased that Governor Malloy is providing significant support today for the development and revitalization of Middletown's waterfront," said State Senator Paul Doyle (D-9).
"The state support announced today is critical to the riverfront recapture project that will revitalize this area of Middletown," said State Senator Danté Bartolomeo (D-13). "Together we will be able to transform this area, while maintaining the boathouse as a focal point and symbol of the waterfront's historical use. Thank you to Governor Malloy for continuing to support this community."
"Governor Malloy's support has been critical for Middletown," said State Representative Matt Lesser (D-100). "Today marks an important step forward in our efforts to clean up the waterfront and chart a new plan for waterfront development."
"I want to thank Governor Malloy for his participation and commitment to Middletown and efforts to make improvements to the beautiful waterfront on the Connecticut River," said State Representative Joe Serra (D-33).
The development of new open space in urban areas - particularly former industrial sites - has proven to be a catalyst for local economic development and improved quality of life. In particular, redeveloping this stretch of the Connecticut River will also capitalize on the significant investment Middletown has made in decommissioning its wastewater treatment plant, the removal of which will unlock the potential Middletown's of riverfront and leverage significant private development of housing and mixed-use properties at and around the Riverfront Park.
"DECD is delighted to be partnering with Mayor Drew and the City of Middletown to advance this potentially transformative riverfront redevelopment project that will improve the connection between Middletown and the iconic Connecticut River," said Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Commissioner Catherine H. Smith. "Creating new open space and recreational development creates jobs, and enhances the quality of life not just the city of Middletown, but also the entire region."
"Governor Malloy has made investing in Connecticut's cities a centerpiece of his economic development strategy, and this catalytic investment in Middletown's waterfront will help reconnect the City to its heritage along the river," said DECD Director of Waterfront, Brownfield and Transit-Oriented Development Tim Sullivan. "By reactivating this stretch of the riverfront, this project will encourage private investment that will also create jobs in Middletown."
Last year, the City of Middletown appointed a Riverfront Redevelopment Committee to work with Project for Public Spaces, Inc. to engage community members in a discussion about how to invest and encourage greater use of the Middletown riverfront for private development around its edges and public use along the water. The Riverfront Redevelopment Committee focused on the area of Middletown ranging from Harbor Park in the north to Silver Street in the south, while accounting for the need to connect the Riverfront Park with the city's downtown, its nearby residential neighborhoods and the Wesleyan University campus.
Based on the input and ideas gathered at these community meetings, recommendations were developed for transforming the Riverfront's public spaces, including creating multi-use destinations at the Riverfront, improving access to and on the Riverfront Park and water, celebrating the history of Middletown, greening and preserving the environmental habitat of the Riverfront and increasing opportunities for tourism and economic development.