21st Century Infrastructure Development Bond
About the Municipal Bond Question
On September 2, 2020, the Common Council of the City of Middletown voted on a resolution and ordinance to send to the electors a referendum question at the November 3, 2020 general election. This would allow the City to bond up to $55,000,000.00 for, "PROPERTY ACQUISITION AND SALE, DESIGN, ENGINEERING, ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND REMEDIATION, CONSTRUCTION, REDEVELOPMENT, INSTALLATION, REPAIR AND RENOVATION OF VARIOUS PUBLIC FACILITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE".
The bond specifies the following programs:
- the development of public parking, to facilitate redevelopment of the downtown arcade site and riverfront
- riverfront redevelopment, including improving public infrastructure and related public amenities
- the acquisition, rehabilitation and redevelopment of city-owned parcels and buildings, including but not limited to, Mattabassett Canoe Club and City Hall
- improvements to the existing gym and pool facilities located on Hunting Hill Avenue for purposes of creating a Recreation Center
- citywide road, sidewalk and curb paving
A complete copy can be found here: 21st Century Infrastructure Development Bond Ordinance
Goal and Priorities of the Bond Authorization:
- Strategic investment in property and infrastructure to facilitate long-term smart community and economic growth for the benefit of Middletown residents.
- Investments along the riverfront to help aid the planning and future development along this important resource.
- Investment in parking infrastructure to maintain the economic vitality of the downtown and to foster additional development in the urban core of Middletown.
- Improved public roadways that incorporate multi-modal access throughout the City of Middletown.
- Investment in a public indoor recreation center that will benefit the whole community (Pool and Gymnasium Area of the current middle school).
- Potentially relocating City Hall so that the current location (245 DeKoven Drive) can be utilized for future redevelopment purposes and grand-list growth.
Public Parking Infrastructure
In 2008, the City of Middletown conducted a parking analysis to determine City priorities in terms of parking improvements throughout the downtown. Since that time, the City has been making incremental changes to improve parking in the downtown area. At the same time, Middletown's downtown development has increased, putting a strain on available downtown parking and municipal parking facilities. As proposed in the parking analysis, a new parking structure or garage is needed to meet the growing demand for downtown parking and to facilitate further growth along Main Street.
The City hired URS, an engineering firm, to propose layouts for a multi-story parking facility. Based on current construction estimates, a 500 space parking garage would cost approximately 17.5 million dollars, depending on final dimensions and details. The slideshow below is one concept that was proposed at the Municipal Parking area on Dingwall Drive, adjacent to the City Police Department. Final design would be determined after additional engineering.
Riverfront Infrastructure, Redevelopment and Remediation
The City of Middletown has begun the process of positioning itself for the future redevelopment of its Riverfront. The first step was to join the Mattabassett District, facilitating the decommissioning of the City's aging waste water treatment facility. Over the past few years, the City has finalized its connection to the district and is working on decommissioning the plant for future redevelopment potential.
In addition, the City is looking to hire a consultant to help it develop a Comprehensive Master Plan for future uses along the riverfront. This plan will use information that has been developed over the past few years and will include observations from the Projects for Public Spaces report from 2014 and The Conway School.
In order to prepare for future planning and redevelopment, the City needs to make infrastructure investments along the riverfront. This will include property acquisition, remediation and improvement.
In the past, contaminated materials have been used to fill along Middletown's riverfront. In addition, some land along the riverfront has been contaminated due to the industrial uses that previously existed. The image above shows a few industrial sites that once existed prior to Middletown's waste water treatment facility being built.
Pictured above is an image of the City's now decommissioned waste water treatment facility. The structures on the site will need further remediation in order to be reused.
The corridors and connections along the riverfront need to be evaluated and improved in order to have the basic infrastructure needed to attract meaningful redevelopment of the riverfront.
Assets like the Mattabasett Canoe Club, a City-owned structure, need improvements to continue to be a center of activity along Middletowns Riverfront.
Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Redevelopment of City-Owned Parcels and Buildings
The City has the potential to grow its grand list by revisiting and re-purposing its own properties along the riverfront as well as downtown. One site in particular that has drawn the attention of developers over the past few years is the lot in which the current City Hall is located. Its proximity to the Riverfront, Intrastate Route 9, public parking and a vibrant downtown makes it an ideal site for redevelopment.
A development at this site could bring in substantial tax revenue over the long term. For example, if a developer were to invest 40 million dollars at the site, there would be about 1.5 million in additional tax revenue that would come to the City annually. The revenue would cover any costs associated with the City Hall relocation and continue to add revenue to the general fund well after the bond has been paid off.
The redevelopment of the City Arcade Site with associated parking and the potential redevelopment of the current City Hall parcel would create significant grand list growth as well as continue to improve and enhance the downtown area and riverfront.
Recreation Center on Hunting Hill Avenue
In the fall of 2021, the City of Middletown will open the new Beman Middle School.
This school combines grades 6, 7 and 8 into one state-of-the-art facility that will be adjacent to the newly renovated Pat Kidney Field complex off of Hunting Hill Avenue.
As part of the decommissioning of the old Woodrow Wilson Middle School that is currently on Hunting Hill Avenue, the City is looking to retain the existing indoor pool and gymnasium and convert that into the City's Indoor Recreation Center to be utilized by the residents.
Above is a conceptual layout of the Indoor Recreation Center that will be created after the Beman Middle School opens in the Fall of 2021. This facility will be managed by the Recreation and Community Services Department and will host a variety of indoor athletic and recreational programming.
City Roadway Repaving
A good portion of the 55 million bond, (15 million) is dedicated to roadway infrastructure. The City's Public Works department has compiled a list of streets and roadways for which this bond money would be utilized on if the bond were to pass in November. As part of redesigning and repaving, the Public Works department will look to improve roadways and infrastructure to ensure that that City is working within its Complete Street Plan.
A list of the roads that are covered by the bond can be found here: Roads and Streets
Below is a proposed budget allocation for the various projects. City staff is continuously looking at ways of reducing cost and expenses as well as working to find additional financial resources to fund the projects. The goal is to reduce expenses by finding efficiencies as well as locating outside sources of funding for these projects.
The City is currently pursuing an Urban Act Grant to cover the potential cost for the parking infrastructure needed in the downtown. This would reduce the amount needed to be bonded by approximately 20,000,000 million dollars.