Windsor Locks residents at a town meeting Tuesday approved applying for a $250,000 grant to study what kind of development could occur around a relocated train station
The state has allocated $5 million for communities with major transit stops to see what kinds of mixed use development could be developed around the stations, Patrick McMahon, economic development consultant for the town, said. With Windsor Locks being a stop on the New Haven to Springfield train line and a proposed bus from that station to Bradley International Airport, it could be a good opportunity.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to try to relocate the train station back to downtown,” McMahon said.
Windsor Locks has been lobbying the state officials to relocate the current train platform, which is south of I-91 on Route 159, to the center of town. The current platform is a “glorified bus shelter,” town officials said and is in an area that has no room for any kind of development.
A study three years ago on Main Street determined that the station should be moved back near the old station in downtown.
McMahon said moving the platform can help with redevelopment of the downtown because it will bring people to area. In the past few months, it seems that state Department of Transportation officials who originally opposed the proposal, are working to find a solution to relocating the platform, he added.
State DOT officials will be holding a meeting showing some of the traffic mitigation proposals for the area at 7 p.m. on September 20 in the high school auditorium, McMahon said.
Town officials are also continuing efforts to get the historic but shuttered train station in downtown renovated. Although the Windsor Locks Preservation Association dissolved earlier this year, the town still has a $225,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant to help with the project.
McMahon said the town has to determine whether it wants to pursue ownership of the property or a longterm lease. The preservation association determined that renovating the building could cost as much as $500,000.
McMahon said financing vehicles for the project have not been found yet. He said it would likely take a mixture of private and public funding to finance the renovation.
If the town doesn’t get the grant, applying now will put the town in a better position when another round of grants comes, McMahon said.
“It sends a signal that we are tremendously serious,” McMahon said.
Mickey Danyluk, a former president of the preservation association, voted against the proposal saying he thinks the application is a political maneuver by First Selectman Steven N. Wawruck Jr. before the November municipal election “to make it look like getting something when he isn’t.”
Danyluk said the studies the town keeps haven't produced anything for the physical buildings such as the Montgomery building at Route 159 and 140.
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