South Cove Waterfront Development

The City of Middletown is exploring long-range plans to develop 85 acres of prime waterfront property on the banks of the historic Connecticut River. 

Project History

The presence of Route 9, between Middletown and the historic Connecticut River, has long been a source of consternation for area planners and residents who rue the day they lost access to it.

As plans evolved to decommission the obsolete riverfront sewage treatment plan and reconfigure the Route 9 / Route 17 interchange in the South Cove area, city leaders began to look at this section of the waterfront and its larger land mass as a long-range development opportunity to reconnect the city with its waterfront amenities.

1998: Mayor's Select Committee on Waterfront Development

In 1998, Mayor Domenique S Thornton convened "The Mayor's Select Committee on Waterfront Development," to involve the broadest possible cross-section of residents, property-owners, planners, business people, and other stakeholders to explore options in the area, and identify community priorities and objectives for its future development. 

Coordinated by planning director, William Warner, AICP, the meetings were facilitated by two consultants: John Mullin and Associates and Planimetrics.

Workshops: Goals, Priorities, & Strategies

A series of workshops established Goals, Priorities, and Strategies for the future development of the area, along with a Conceptual Land Use map.
Meanwhile, a PILOT grant from the EPA provided the city with preliminary resources to investigate the environmental effects of 100 years of industrial location in the area.

Environmental consultants TRC performed a number of studies, Phase I and Phase II assessments, and reports, the sum of which significantly reduced much of the uncertainty that comes with "brownfield" redevelopment.

December 2002: Grant Applications

The City of Middletown is now (December, 2002) in the process of preparing grant applications to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for $200,000 in brownfields assessment funds for the Main Street Extension, East Main Street area and for the Portland Chemical property on Newfield Street.

The department is also applying for $1 million in funds to capitalize a brownfields clean up revolving loan fund.

Discussion & Draft Information

Interested parties may appear and discuss the proposal and review draft information. Application guidelines and supporting documentation are on file in the Department of Planning, Conservation and Development.

2002: Conceptual Designs

In recent months, developers have begun to take notice of this area, prompting the city to take steps to articulate more clearly its own vision for how the development should ultimately take shape. Early last year (2002), the city retained renowned waterfront and preservation architect, Arthur Cotton Moore to develop conceptual designs for the waterfront which were unveiled at the end of May.

With these many components in hand, the city developed a Request for Developer Qualifications (RFQ). Please stay-tuned, and let us know what you think of possible future directions for this part of Middletown's waterfront.

Supporting Information & Other Resources

Citizen Participation


  • Environmental Consultant, TRC
  • EPA PILOT Award
  • Minutes of MRWA's decision to accept Middletown flow
  • Minutes of Water Authority's decision to decommission the Sewage Treatment Plant
  • Phase I Environmental Assessments for Project Area
  • Phase II Environmental Assessments for Project Area
  • TRC Final Report

Other Resources