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Middletown Cleans Up With Downtown Gateway Study

The city's Redevelopment Agency and contracted planning firms spearhead ideas for North and South gateways to the city.

What would you like to see when you first drive into Middletown?

With the help of a $400,000 grant for brownfield assessment from the Environmental Protection Agency, the city of Middletown has been studying the city’s brownfields and recently chose to pay special attention to the north and south end as each gives the first glimpse of the city to visitors and residents.

Brownfields are underutilized or abandoned buildings or vacant land with possible or real environmental contamination that would be complicated to redevelop.

If developers have access to a report of each brownfield property it would save them thousands of dollars on environmental studies and lessen the risk of the investment, making it more likely they will invest.

The city’s Redevelopment Agency has been steering the study, known as the Downtown Gateway Study, with help from the planning and land development firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB) and civic engineering and planning firm Milone and MacBroom (MMI), who have completed a market analysis and conceptual improvement plan for the two gateway areas.

Using the public input from recent Redevelopment Agency meetings, the firm recommended residential, retail and medical office space for the South Gateway, near Middlesex Hospital, and residential, retail, grocery, and arts for the North Gateway, the north tip of Main Street.

Redevelopment Agency Chairwoman Jennifer Alexander said the agency endorsed the general concept of the plan and it’s now up to the planning department for development and funding.

“All the ideas in the world won’t work unless the city votes on it and is in a position to implement the ideas,” she said.

“The general idea is ‘greening’ the areas and encouraging residential development and walkable neighborhoods,” Alexander said.

One interesting idea that was discussed is implementing a rotary at the north end of Main Street.

Stay tuned for pictures and plans of the study and proposed projects.

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