Putting down the rumor mill and presenting a fact-based rundown of what is to happen, Allingtown Green Project liaison Ken Carney told the City Council at its last public meeting (before the Coronavirus outbreak) the update for the landmark is on schedule. The Green, at the nexus of Forest Road, Campbell Avenue and the Boston Post Road, has been the subject of several rumors and misinformation, according to Carney.
The project, which has cost the city about $900,000 so far in grant funds, has seen its share of hurdles.
“The project survived compliance demands, funding issues, multiple design obstacles from the Department of Transportation, utility companies, and the project survived the rumor mill,” Carney told the council
Since the rebuilding of the RT 1-Forest Road area, what was to happen to the iconic common area was the subject of constant chatter, including the elimination of the area all together. Carney dismissed that notion outright. Since Acorn Group began building the Park View complex on Cellini Place, the stories concerning Cellini Place and the surrounding area have multiplied.
“I am here to tell you tonight the rumors are not true,” he said. “The name of Cellini Place is not changing, the Green and the street are not being taken over by a private developer, no parking will be lost on Cellini Place, Cellini place is not being closed to traffic, the monuments are not going to be removed, and yes, there is still room for a Christmas tree.”
He said the new design “offers a completely useable green that is fully ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant.”
The space will allow for gatherings, the monuments will get display and access upgrades. Additionally, plans call for granite walls with bluestone caps, colored, stamped concrete, new sidewalks, ornamental fence similar to that on the New Haven Green, a 30-foot-tall flagpole, refurbished clock, new light poles and lighted walks, new trees and landscaping, and a leveled grade to make the green fully useable.
According to Carney, another feature will be a “traffic calming area” to slow down traffic on Cellini Place.
“If the city wants to hold an event on the Green, recessed bollards on either end of the Cellini Place can be raised to temporarily close the street,” he said.
The liaison estimated the cost of the upgrade project will be in the neighborhood of $957,000, paid for by DOT funds, and a request for $250,000 additionally from a Community Development Administration block grant.
“Originally, all of the work for the green, and the site work that the city was responsible for, were funded by a $1.5 million DOT grant,” he said. “Presently, we have $676,000 left and our lowest bid for the new green area is $607,028.”
This brings of the question of why the city wants an additional $250,000 in CDA funding.
“The answer is that in order for the project to be 100 percent completed, additional funding is needed. The project requires a contingency fund,” Carney said. “The following items are required to complete the project: paving all of Cellini Place, not just half; upgrade of the stamped concrete to pavers; replacing the stamped concrete by the clock; added lighting to the clock; a stone base for the clock; up-lighting at the tree grates to illuminate the trees; purchasing new benches and trash cans, and re-paving Chester and Lee streets.”
No date of completion was available at press time, but any schedule would be contingent upon the awarding of contracts, and the procurement of the additional funding the city is requesting.