A $2 million facelift for Main Street cleared its final obstacle recently and should be done next summer.
The Board of Finance unanimously backed the project recently after eyeing its costs and expressing concern that promised state funding might vanish.
The plan calls for creating new sidewalks, planting trees, adding lights and more in order to make the historic downtown street more attractive and appealing to shoppers and merchants.
Some fiscal overseers said they are worried the state might yank the bulk of the funding in its quest to shave costs as it tries to cope with a budget meltdown.
“It sounds like this is all up in the air,” said Roald Erling, the finance vice chairman.
But Jonathan Rosenthal, the city’s economic development director, said the $1.3 million earmarked for the project by the state “is there. It’s bonded.”
“This is committed money,” Rosenthal said, and won’t vanish.
The project aims to mirror the 2005 overhaul of North Main Street during former Mayor Gerard Couture’s administration, which successfully improved the appearance of the road while calming traffic and making it nicer, and safer, for pedestrians.
Rosenthal said the project is budgeted to cost $2.3 million, but will cost less.
He said the state is paying $1.3 million out of downtown funds the city received years ago. The city will need to spend as much as $500,000 in addition, Rosenthal said.
The plan aims to spruce up the road along the east side from Memorial Boulevard to Center Street and on the west side north of the mall property.
For now, the city is not making changes to the mall site side because of the uncertainty surrounding its possible redevelopment.
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