The June 30 deadline for the will likely come and go with a healthy list of things to do remaining, the Groton Town Council learned Tuesday night.
“We’re working hard with the contractor (Pettini Contracting Corporation). We may not be as far along as we’d like … looking at the 30th of June, it’s really pushing it,” said Streetscape Project Manager Rick Norris.
Norris said the among other items.
“We’re going to keep pushing,” said Michael J. Murphy, Director of Planning.
There is some good news for the project and the town. According to Murphy, because of an ARRA surplus, the town will receive an additional $461,200 in federal funding for the project. In January of 2010, Groton agreed to accept $3.1 million in ARRA monies, now with the new funding authorized by the Council Tuesday, the project will be fully funded.
But councilors had questions about the project.
“What about Bank Street,” Rita Schmidt wanted to know, citing miserable and unsafe conditions for drivers. Norris said the intersection with West Main Street would be widened.
And Councilor Dean Antipas had concerns about the lack of street lighting on a downtown side street.
“We’re working to get that back,” Norris said, adding the town is “working hard” with CL&P as well.
Meanwhile local merchants and visitors alike are frustrated with the pace of the project.
“What I find really frustrating is (that) with all the good weather, the mild winter they haven’t done anything really noticeable,” said Annie Philbrick, co-owner of Bank Square Books in downtown Mystic. “They should have taken advantage of (good weather) to get more done.”
Philbrick said Wednesday she has spoken with town officials and believes there’s “growing frustration” on their part as well.
“The longer this goes on, the greater the frustration,” she said adding that customers, “every one of them” complain about the traffic mess and lack of parking.
“I just smile. What can I say,” she asked rhetorically. “At least we know it’s going to be beautiful when it’s done.”
An elderly couple from New York said they were taking advantage of the unseasonable weather Wednesday and “just got in the car and came,” but were unprepared for “this mess.”
“You know, it’s just not as pretty here as I remember,” said Gerald Cavanaugh who said he and his wife hasn’t visited Mystic “in years.”
“It’s pretty much a mess here now,” he said. “But if you say it’s going to look good when it’s done then we’ll come back.”