Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Wednesday that he was placing $3 million for the reconstruction of in Manchester on the agenda of the state Bond Commission when it meets later this month.
The commission approves funding requests submitted by the governor that have been previously approved by the General Assembly. When a governor places an item on the agenda, its approval is fairly certain.
“Not only will this funding for redevelopment and construction create new jobs now, but as we make this area more attractive to businesses, we can help grow more jobs down the line, as well,” Malloy said in a release Wednesday. “This is a great example of a state and local partnership which will help create jobs and spur private investment, too.”
According to the governor’s office, the $3 million will be used to reconstruct the section of Broad Street between West Middle Turnpike and Center Street, establishing uniform traffic lane widths, curb cuts for all properties, and sidewalks on both sides of the road.
The town of Manchester is in the process of attempting that part of town, once part of Manchester’s primary retail area, but which has seen a downturn and economic stagnation in recent years.
In 2009, residents approved a referendum that gave the town the authority to spend up to $8 million toward renovation of the area, and the town has already used $1.85 million of those funds to acquire the dilapidated property, which carries an estimated $1.9 to $2.3 million demolition cost.
“I’ve been working for some time with (Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin) Barnes to get this on the bonding agenda, and I’m glad Gov. Malloy has seen fit to do so,” said State Sen. Steve Cassano, D-Manchester, who serves as chairman of the senate’s Planning and Development Committee and is a former longtime mayor of Manchester. “This is clearly a jobs bill, but just as importantly, it sends a message to those businesses on Broad Street that we are serious about moving forward with economic development there. This bonding signifies a new start for a new generation of Broad Street, one that we have been looking forward to for over 20 years.”
Manchester General Manager Scott Shanley said that the $3 million from the state, if approved by the bond commission, coupled with $2 million in referendum money that Manchester has allotted, would be enough to complete the street scape renovations, based on estimates the town has received.
“It’s really exciting , because now we’ve purchased the property, we’re putting together a demolition plan," Shanley said, adding that the town was in the process of foreclosing on several dilapidated properties across from the parkade. "Potentially, a year and a half from now, we could have a cleared off space on both side of the road and a brand new streetscape. That would be terrific."
Manchester’s state legislative delegation all endorsed the project in a release Wednesday.
“This funding is exactly what Broad Street, the Parkade and Manchester need to enter into a new phase of economic development and prosperity,” said State Rep. Geoff Luxenberg, D-Manchester. “Tim Devanney, chairman of the Redevelopment Agency, and the agency members have done an outstanding job as well. A brighter, better Manchester is now within our reach thanks to Gov. Malloy.”
The state Bond Commission is scheduled to meet Friday, April 29, in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.