The city has three items on its short list of shovel-ready projects that it hopes will get special funding within months as part of incoming President Barack Obama’s new stimulus spending package.
“We’re in good shape” with the tally of possible projects, said state Rep. Frank Nicastro, a Bristol Democrat. He said Bristol’s “a lot better than many other cities” in its readiness to turn the money into badly needed construction.
Most of what’s targeted for the federal cash would be done regardless of whether Congress supports the proposal, however, and some of it is already completed.
Still, officials said, federal spending on the park, street and sewer projects would free up municipal cash for other projects that might be left on the shelf otherwise.
Mayor Art Ward said the state House leadership told cities and towns to give them their top three projects for possible funding so he made the choice to ask for money to finish the Rockwell Park renovation, a few street improvement projects and the installation of a new sewer line from the Forestville pump station to the treatment plant.
All told, the city would save at least $10 million if the stimulus program picks up the tab for the projects, officials said.
Nicastro, whose 79th District encompasses southern Bristol, said the city projects can all be underway by May 1.
Nicastro, who is also a city councilor, said he would push to keep the projects on the front burner.
Public Works Director Walter Veselka said the city recently finished the last of the design work on the new sewer line that’s needed to try to prevent sewer backups in Forestville during heavy rains, backups so severe that even the pump station has been flooded in the past.
Parts of the new sewer line are already done. The necessary pipes were installed under the new Route 72 extension that’s under construction now and at the new industrial park beside the former Superior Electric factory on Middle Street.
The city is seeking $4.5 million for the Rockwell Park renovation, much of which is already done or in the works. It includes the new skatepark, a new playground, an overhauled parking lot and a host of changes to make the park’s lighting and walkways more attractive.
Along with a few street repair projects, Ward said, the city’s wish list is “in the mix” now after submission to both the General Assembly and U.S. Rep. John Larson, the East Hartford Democrat whose 1st District includes Bristol.
Longer lists of potential projects have also been handed in to Larson and other key officials in case there is more funding available.
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