The town, pending selectmen’s approval, is hoping a state grant would help fund historically appropriate safety and economic development initiatives in Collinsville.
The Main Street Investment Fund Program, a newer initiative of the Connecticut Main Street Center and the state Office of Policy and management, awards towns up to $500,000 to improve commercial centers. There is no local "match" but if awarded, the town could have some design costs, officials said.
According to the Main Street Center's web site, the state bond commission has approved $5 million for this round of funding and it hopes to notify awarded towns in time to begin construction in the Spring of 2013.
The Collinsville plan is being developed free of charge by Milone & MacBroom, the firm that completed the recent Collinsville Upper Mill Pond Master Plan, town planner Neil Pade said. It will incorporate suggestions from that study as well as the 2008 Pedestrian and Vehicular Safety Committee report and a 1997 Collinsville Scenic Corridor study, Pade said
The final plan was not available Tuesday morning as a few details were being tweaked.
However, some of the improvements would include signage to help direct visitors to local businesses, more historically appropriate lighting in the town hall parking lot, additional brick sidewalks, traffic calming measures, increased tree cover in some areas and “pedestrian plazas” with signage, benches, lighting and brochures highlighting local events, nightlife options and historical, artistic, environmental and recreational opportunities.
The Economic Development Agency and Board of Selectmen discussed the grant earlier this year and it is due Sept. 28.
Pade said the main idea would be to enhance both economic development and safety in a historically appropriate way.
With Bridge Street Live and the Farmington Valley Stage Company and restaurant locations reopening, Collinsville’s night life is increasing, Pade said. In addition it remains a popular daytime destination, especially on weekends.
A recent trail count on Sunday, Sept. 16 documented 480 uses of the Bridge Street crosswalk in just two hours, Pade said.
The number emphasizes the need for safety improvements as well as the potential benefit for small business owners. For example, many visitors never find their way to the businesses on River Street, Pade said.
Selectmen will discuss the grant during a meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Community Center.
"It will certainly be an enhancement for Collinsville if we can do it," First Selectman Richard Barlow said.
On Wednesday, selectmen also plan to make appointments to the Economic Development Agency and discuss a Connecticut Conference of Municipalities Program that could bring additional solar energy facilities to town buildings. The complete meeting agenda can be found here.