Originating at the Old Town Mill, passing under Crystal Avenue and through Fulton Park, then entering Winthrop Cove, Briggs Brook is not something the public can see or access, due to overgrowth.

But that’s something the City of New London is looking to change, using about $1.67 million of its $26.3 million in COVID-19 pandemic relief in the form of funding. of the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act.

The plan, by engineering firm Barton & Loguidice, which has offices throughout the northeast, is to clear the banks of vegetation and, beyond the banks, add walking paths, tables for picnic, a panoramic terrace, lighting, a pavilion and trees. The city also plans to install a wooden pedestrian bridge over the creek at Fulton Park, to connect the two sections of the park. The next phase is clearing.

Director of Public Works Brian Sear said as part of the $1.67 million, the city has put out a bid and is spending about $75,000 to replace the roof of the old town mill8 Mill St. The city also spent approximately $230,000 to replace the Fulton Park basketball courts off Crystal Avenue, which has been completed.

“Without ARPA, I would have taken a step back, but there’s no way we’ve launched an effort like this,” Sear said, adding, “It’s not a scale that we would normally have been able to afford.”

Public health is one of the ways municipalities approve of spending the funds, and the Fulton Park improvements are just one of many outdoor recreation projects on which the public works, parks and parks departments and Connecticut Recreation are working on the use of ARPA funds. Parks, trails and beaches have seen increased use during the pandemic. While it’s hard to say exactly what would have happened without the ARPA dollars, administrators say some projects would have taken much longer to complete or happened on a smaller scale.

New London’s ARPA expenses also include $150,000 for a “Rec Mobile”.

“With our community living in post-COVID isolation and staying close to home, New London Recreation is looking to integrate into community neighborhoods by taking the recreation department to the streets!” the recreation department funding request indicated. The idea is for the Rec Mobile to make routine visits to neighborhoods or parks, offering fitness activities, board games, sports, and crafts.

Recreation director Tommie Major said the department is trying to get the van built, but there is a delay with some companies and he hopes to get it by the end of August or September.

Outside of its department, the city’s Office of Development and Planning secured $150,000 for a program to improve public green spaces, funds that could be used for fencing, play areas, signage , exercise equipment, public restrooms and benches.

Montville: Camp Oakdale Upgrades and Inclusive Playground

Outdoor recreation was clearly a priority for Montville: about 40% of the first $1.5 million approved by city council, of its total allocation of $5.5 million over two years, was earmarked for the Commission parks and recreation.

This includes a variety of projects at Camp Oakdale, 140 Meeting House Lane: $360,000 to replace the tennis courts, $55,000 to repair the pavilion, $24,000 for the soccer field bleachers and $5,000 for replacement from the grill.

Adjacent to Camp Oakdale is the Mostowy property, which the city purchased in 2018, and the city has set aside $12,000 for a site plan and $5,000 for a trail. Commission chairwoman Kate Southard said the commission needed to start with an archaeological survey and an engineer, and then wanted to develop the nature trails on the property.

The commission is receiving $150,000 in ARPA funds for an inclusive playground, which Southard says will likely be at the community center. She explained that the playground would accommodate children with physical disabilities and would also be good for children with autism.

ARPA’s budget also includes $20,000 for parking and a picnic area in Scholfield Park, which fire companies use for training.

Southard doesn’t think the inclusive playground or bleachers for the soccer field would have happened without ARPA funding. As for the status of the projects, she said the grates have arrived and need to be installed, she is awaiting site plans for the accessible playground and she is getting new estimates for the tennis courts.

“I think we realized that we just needed more outdoor stuff for our communities, more places where people could have activities that didn’t require them to worry about social distancing,” he said. Southard said of an impact from the pandemic.

Groton: Sutton Park, Shennecossett Golf Course and Master Plans

When the City Council and Representative Municipal Assembly allocated $3.05 million of Groton’s ARPA funds as part of the budget process from March to May, nearly two-thirds was earmarked for parks and recreation-related projects. outdoors.

“During the pandemic, people used parks a lot more, simply because it was a safe space for people to get out and help with their mental and physical well-being,” said Mark Berry, director of parks and recreation. Hobbies.

The biggest project is $980,000 for Sutton Park at 185 Fort Hill Road. Berry said the proposal is to replace a playground, rehabilitate one of the shelters, remodel the skate park and redo the parking lot. His department is working on a request for proposals for design services, and he hopes to launch a bid by August. There would then be a process to get feedback from people who use the skate park and playground.

There’s also $210,000 for a community connectivity master plan, to create a bicycle and pedestrian plan for Groton for the first time since 2004.

“The goal of the community connectivity plan update is to identify existing areas where it’s difficult for people to get from place to place safely, and sort of prioritize projects. identified,” Berry said. He hopes to develop the RFP this fall, get next spring’s data collection into fall from people who cycle and walk, and get a final report in 2024.

There’s also $80,000 for a parks and open space master plan, which Berry said was last completed in 2009.

The city’s total ARPA allocation is approximately $8.6 million, and $740,000 has been set aside for the Shennecossett Golf Course, 93 Plant St. – for operational analysis, construction of the restroom building, and the renovation of the clubhouse. Berry said he has seen “a huge increase” in the number of people playing on the golf course during the pandemic.

East Lyme: Darrow Pond, Beach Toilets and Playgrounds

ARPA’s top priorities for East Lyme Parks & Recreation, director Dave Putnam said, are the Darrow Pond Recreation Area Master Plan for $25,000 and improving restrooms in the parks for $200,000. , specifically at Hole-in-the-Wall Beach at the end of Baptist Lane in Niantic. Putnam said the city is looking to make the bathroom accessible year-round, but it hasn’t winterized yet.

Two hundred of Darrow Pond’s 300 acres, on Mostowy Road near Highway 161, are in a conservation easement, but the rest can be improved, and the city has just put out a bid for a master plan that will guide its use, a Putnam said. The improvements would be for passive recreation that blends into the surrounding environment, not something like ball diamonds.

“We’ve seen a big push towards hiking and outdoor adventures, so I think Darrow Pond would also be a really good place to invest some money,” Putnam said, adding that he’s seen a “huge increase” in the use of the Niantic Bay boardwalk and beaches during the pandemic – hence the bathroom upgrades at Hole-in-the-Wall.

Putnam hopes to select a contractor for the master plan in mid-July and begin the restroom upgrade process in the fall.

His department is also receiving $500,000 for playground improvements at McCook Point Park and Peretz Park and $75,000 to replace water fountains in the parks.

Putnam said the various projects are on his list of long-term capital improvements, but without the ARPA funds, “they might have been done but it might have taken years, so this is coming, I think, to speed up this process”.

Norwich: a lot of noise around Mohegan Park

Norwich has received $28.8m in ARPA funds, and the first round of funding – approved in September – includes a few projects at Mohegan Park.

This includes $120,000 for improvements to Mohegan Park Playground, $50,000 to add exercise stations for adults and $30,000 to expand the disc golf course to 18 holes with short and long hoops. The city has already set up seven exercise equipment stations, such as an ab toner, a leg press and a rowing machine.

There is also $350,000 for upgrading the Armstrong tennis courts. Other ARPA allocations for outdoor recreation include $130,000 for improvements to Jenkins Park near High and Mechanic Streets, $100,000 for the Greeneville Playground at 266 Central Ave. and $150,000 for the wading pool; it’s all part of the park’s master plan.

The Public Works Department has a budget of $1.1 million for design and installation work at the Uncas Leap Heritage Park off Yantic Street, including the completion of the granite mill ruins, interpretive panels and a chronological exhibit, fencing, lighting, restrooms and pathways. The project description said it “will be an attraction for tourists, which should help restaurants and hotels in the city.”

SLR International Corp. was selected as the design firm in late 2021 and by the end of March had begun the survey portion of the work, according to a Q1 report.

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