As we enjoy these last weeks of summer and approach fall, another construction season begins to wind down. I'd like to update you on some of the large capital projects that the Town has been working on:
Collinsville Streetscape II
In 2016, Phase I of the Streetscape Improvement Plan made pedestrian and other improvements to the Main and Front Street areas of Collinsville. The project was designed in two phases and in June 2016, the Town was notified that a $1,297,100 Responsible Growth and Transit-Orientated Development Planning Grant to fund Phase II of the Streetscape project was approved. After significant public outreach, plans were developed for Main Street, The Green, Market Street, River Street and Bridge Street. The plans include decorative lighting along with side walk, signage and parking improvements. The project is overseen by the Department of Transportation. The plans have been approved by the Department and notices have been sent to abutting property owners notifying them of the work to be performed. It is anticipated the project will be bid in late fall and for construction to begin next spring.
Dowd Avenue Sidewalk Project
This project will make repairs to existing sidewalks and create new sidewalks for the area of Dowd Avenue and Commerce Drive. The sidewalks will connect the area of Commerce Drive, Canton Village and the Town Green for pedestrian traffic. The improvements are being funded through a $400,000 Community Connectivity Grant which is being administered by the Department of Transportation. The improvements have been designed and since most of the improvements are within the State right-of-way, an encroachment permit has been requested from the Department of Transportation. It is anticipated that the project will be bid this winter and constructed next spring.
Town Bridge is an iconic historic bridge that crosses the Farmington River. The bridge which was constructed in 1895, had begun to deteriorate significantly which limited its usage and life span. In 2010, the Town of Canton received a grant in the amount of $5,340,000 to rehabilitate the bridge. A local match of 20% was approved by the voters at a Town Meeting. After public input, it was decided that the existing design of the bridge would be maintained. This spring, the bridge was removed, dismantled and shipped to Pennsylvania to be rehabilitated, including trying to save as much of the existing metal as possible. The reinstallation of the bridge, which was originally planned for December 2019, has been delayed until May 2020 because of unforeseen circumstances that were discovered after the bridge was removed from its peers.
Solar Panel Roof Projects
The Town will be placing solar panels on the roofs of the following buildings: Cherry Brook Elementary School, Canton High School, Canton Intermediate School, Community Center and the new Public Works Facility. The Public Works Facility will produce power for both the Public Works Facility and the neighboring Water Treatment Facility. The panels are being installed and maintained by the Con Edison Company. The Town will purchase the energy from Con Edison at a reduced fix rate over the life of the solar panels. Interconnectivity agreements have been reached with Eversource and Con Edison is finalizing design plans for the solar panel arrays. Most of the panels should be installed by the end of 2019.
Farmington River Hydro Project
For over a decade, Canton officials have worked towards revitalizing the hydro facilities located across the Farmington River from the Collins Ax Factory. These efforts include getting the State Legislature and Congress to pass special legislation supporting the development of the facility. This culminated in 2014 when President Obama signed the Collinsville Renewable Energy Production Act. The Town then selected a developer, Canton Hydro LLC through a competitive selection process. In August of 2019, Canton Hydro LLC received a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconstruct and operate the Hydro facility.
The Hydro facility will provide numerous benefits besides the production of clean renewable energy. The facility will include a fish ladder that will provide both upstream and downstream passage for fish and eels. There will be crest gates installed on the existing dam which will raise the level of the water in the impoundment area three feet. These crest gates will automatically go up and down to keep a consistent level of water in the impoundment area. The increase in water height will enhance recreational use of the impoundment area. There will also be river access created above and below the dam for people to access the water. The facility will be subject to local property taxes thereby increasing the grand list.
Construction has begun at the facility. It is anticipated that a significant portion of the facility will be completed by the end of 2019 with the facility to begin producing electricity by the end of 2020.
Public Works Facility
In November 2016, a referendum vote approved funding for a new Public Works facility on River Road. Construction began in the spring of 2018 and was substantially completed before winter. The facility is now complete and will be dedicated at an open house on Saturday, September 7, 2019. Click here for more information about the Open House.
The budget for the facility was $3,825,000. The plans were modified during the process to include a new access road and construction of a new ball field. There was also over $250,000 of unanticipated environmental clean up to remove contaminated soils resulting from buried oil tanks left behind many decades ago. The Town removed the oil tanks and the contaminated soils and installed monitoring wells to test the remaining soil. In August of 2019, the first test results from the monitoring wells found the groundwater to be at a level well below the cleanup criteria. Despite these additional costs the project came in at budget.
So, needless to say, there is a LOT going on in Canton! If you've got any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or attend one of the Board of Selectmen meetings which are held on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month at the Community Center.
Wishing you all a safe and healthy fall,