NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — There is a brand new roundabout at Franklin Square in Norwich.
This was a major construction project throughout the summer and now it is complete so a lot of people are happy about that. It is aimed at calming and slowing down traffic in the downtown area.
“We’re trying to calm traffic down,” said Mayor Peter Nystrom, (R) Norwich. “Slow it down. Those are two separate things.”
It is also part of a continual effort to try to revitalize the city.
“I think everything we do is pointed toward revitalization,” said Mayor Nystrom.
Just up the road on Main Street, a planned luxury apartment complex is expected to add as many as 42 market-rate units to the downtown area.
“We need a better blend in downtown,” said the mayor. “We need feet on the street.”
“A place where Norwich residents can live, work, and play,” said Kevin Brown, President of the Norwich Community Development Corporation.
The $8.8 million project is set to receive a grant and loan totaling $800,000 in American Rescue Plan money after construction is complete by 2023.
“This is all about incentivizing development and showing some initiative and really knocking over that first domino to let the rest of the dominoes fall,” Brown said.
With any new roundabout, people need to get used to it, such as realizing they have to yield to the traffic which is already in the roundabout. But here they also have to get used to fewer on-street parking spaces and using nearby parking lots instead.
“A lot of people come here, complain when they come here [to] pick up food.. ‘why is there no parking here?’” said Jin Yi Liu of the Sunrise Chinese Restaurant, which is located right at the roundabout.
The parking spaces in front of the restaurant were removed as part of this project. She is also concerned about deliveries.
“I was a delivery guy for UPS. The driver finds a way,” said Mayor Nystrom. “It will get done.”
The mayor says there will now be more parking spaces on side streets, more places for people to gather safely, and more possibilities for businesses.
“I see an area for outdoor dining even though it’s grassed,” said Mayor Nystrom, who was referring to the green space now in front of the Sunrise restaurant.
There may also be a new venue along with more dining and housing possibilities down the road for the downtown area.