NORWALK, Conn. – The mile-long infrastructure and streetscape improvement project along the West Avenue corridor in Norwalk was unanimously approved by the Common Council on Tuesday night.
Though funding for the project was not discussed, in part because plans are still being finalized, the renovation could cost about $9.6 million, according to Norwalk Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan.
Once construction begins, the project will take a few years to complete because it will be done in stages. The city will apply for state and federal grants to offset costs. No start date has been announced.
Tuesday’s vote was to approve the landscape design master plan, which some council members and residents said was not perfect but was a good start. Renowned landscape architectural firm Milone & MacBroom created the master plan, in part based on input from the Redevelopment Agency and residents.
“West Avenue represents the linkage of uptown to downtown, and defines the city’s urban space,” said Sheehan.
The plan calls for new street lighting, plants, trees, pedestrian plazas, bricked crosswalks, effect lighting under the I-95 and Route 7 Connector overpasses and public art installations, among other improvements.
Councilman Nick Kydes said he hopes the West Avenue project leads to the creation of a “loop” of improvements that will incorporate Wall Street to East Avenue to Veterans Memorial Park, across the Stroffolino Bridge to Washington Street to North Main Street and back to West Avenue.
He added that he hopes the plan will incorporate a multitude of flowering trees along the route to make Norwalk an attraction in the spring the way Washington, D.C., is with its Cherry Blossom trees.
“It could be an opportunity to bring people to Norwalk,” Kydes said.
A few members of the public who spoke Tuesday in general support of the plan said they would like to see bike lanes and increased pedestrian offerings, which Sheehan said have been talked about in other discussions for the corridor.
“The trend toward biking infrastructure in cities is nationwide and expanding,” said resident Colin Grotheer. “Our cities are living organisms, and they need to evolve and grow with the times.”
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