Flower St. Sidewalk Meeting Scheduled

BERLIN – Sidewalks on Flower St. in Berlin will take another step closer to completion next week when the town holds a long promised informational meeting for residents.

The meeting will take place on 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, at the multi-purpose building on Flower St.

“We want to try to get all the questions answered for the community regarding their personal property, the easements, etc.,” said Berlin Mayor Tom Cardinale.

The project engineer will outline the construction approach and answer questions at the meeting.

“We’re sending out letters to all the properties affected,” said Berlin Administrative Director Linda Bambary.

The half million-dollar project to add sidewalks to the north side of the street has had at least two extensions of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding awarded two years ago. Earlier this summer, the project had to be complete by the end of October to retain the money, but that has since been changed to Dec. 31.

“We’re still hoping to get it done by the end of the year,” said Bambary. “We’re hoping things go smoothly from the community meeting on.”

Design complications have delayed and increased the cost of the work.

“Planning and design is done,” said Bambary. “We have not put it out for bid yet. We’ll probably do that in the very near future.”

The bid process should take about 30 days.

“Once the contractor gets in there, it shouldn’t take him long to do,” Bambary said.

Flower St. residents have been lobbying for sidewalks for decades.

“Sonny Durkins has been waiting for the sidewalk since he was a little boy,” said Cardinale. “I’m absolutely thrilled we finally got the project going. I think it’s going to be a big boost for the community.”

The work has seen delay after delay since the CDBG funds were awarded. A public meeting was first tentatively set for late June, but the town was not ready and the meeting not held.

Now the project has picked up steam with the resolution of the design issues, and staff and elected officials can look forward to its completion.

“I’ve been working on it since the day I walked in the front door. I feel like I’ve been working on it for a hundred years,” Cardinale said.

The mayor praised town staff for all their hard work on the project. “I’m so proud of all of them,” he said. “This is a major accomplishment.”

Sidewalks for the rest of Flower St. could follow in the future, Cardinale said, as the town continues to bring itself into the 21st Century.