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Brennan Updates Town for Fall

By now, most Wilton vacationers are back in town, kids dutifully back in school and fall event notices are streaming in to fill our collective calendars.

The pace in town is quickening, and therefore, it is timely to update the community on a number of Wilton projects and some exciting events on the horizon.

Let’s start with the renovation of the Wilton train station.  I am pleased to report that work continues on schedule.  The state’s contractor started work in mid June and should be completely finished by the end of October.  Old buildings present many renovation challenges and the Wilton station is not an exception.  Nevertheless, the contractor has made steady progress and is essentially on schedule.

When dealing with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, it is best to be conservative when passing on DOT project completion dates!  In early June, I communicated to the community that two very visible major projects at the busy intersection of Routes 7 and 33 were scheduled to start in the summer and would be finished by early fall!  Unfortunately, problems arose that scuttled earlier start up dates!

Both projects were complicated by design or utility issues, which required more design/engineering time.  Excavation work at the Crossways project area for utility modifications have started and should take approximately two weeks, which will be followed by construction of the new retaining wall and sidewalk in front of the shopping center.  Work hopefully will be completed by the contractor by the end of November.

The second project, completion of structural maintenance on the Route 33 bridge over the train station, is now scheduled to start in late September and should be completed by late December.  These are best estimates of completion dates from the project manager, as the DOT wants to be finished with the Route 7 widening project completely by year end.

The Town has also been very busy this summer.  While the economy is gradually improving, progress is forecast to be slow.  Therefore, we continue to be economically vigilant and have focused on budgeted facilities maintenance and projects supported by grants or private donations.

A capital project was approved last year to prevent further deterioration of the Town-owned Marvin Tavern and the little yellow house at 415 Danbury Road.  Architectural and structural design plans were required to insure proper restoration of these buildings, so that they may eventually be leased to residential tenants and once again provide a steady stream of rental income to the Town of Wilton.

The little yellow house, known as the “Ebenezer Bennett House”, one of Wilton’s oldest residences, also required substantial maintenance work.   When interior renovations have been completed, the exterior of both houses will be power washed and painted, completing the project.  Fortunately, the work this summer has proceeded on schedule and costs have been less than budgeted estimates.   And lastly, work began in July on the stabilization and structural repair of the Raymond Ambler house and is progressing on schedule, funded partially from a $250,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant.

After the DOT finished their clean up and grading of the sides of the Route 7 roadway, the deteriorated support wall in front of the Town Hall was able to be repaired in late August.  The wall had crumbled in several places, weakening the adjacent lawn areas.  This budgeted maintenance project, which had been deferred several years due to Route 7 construction work, has now enabled lawn maintenance work to also be completed.

As you may have noticed, site work started in mid-August to construct the Veterans’ Memorial Green Project in Wilton Center.  The memorial monuments and flagpole have been ordered and our objective is to have the project completely finished by November 11th, Veterans Day.  Fundraising has also made steady progress.  Over $55,000 has been contributed by more than 300 individuals, schools and organizations.  However, due to vacations in August, contributions slowed.  We still need to raise about $15,000 more and I encourage all citizens, veterans and businesses to please consider a donation to support this worthy project.

On September 11th, there will be a memorial service at 10:00 a.m. at the Wilton Fire Station.  All citizens are invited to attend this ceremony that honors the individuals who perished at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Later in the day, there will be another exciting event in the Town Center.  “Celebrate Wilton”.  This is a community wide event supported by the Wilton Family Y, the Town of Wilton, the Chamber of Commerce, the Teen Center and the Wilton Schools.  The objective is to promote a healthy Wilton by encouraging citizens of all ages to walk, jog, bike or stroll on a regular basis.  Kicking off the celebrations at noon, a Family Bicycle Parade will start from Allen’s Meadow and continue to Wilton Center.  All bikers are welcome.  Many other events are scheduled that promote fitness, exercising and healthy living.  In summary, Wilton Center will be jumping from noon to 2:00 p.m. with music, fun events for kids and various demonstrations.  Come one – come all!

That’s the latest news on the Town’s projects and events!  Welcome back Wiltonians.

Bill Brennan, First Selectman

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