New Castle officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday morning for the $11.6 million Chappaqua infrastructure and streetscape project that promises to reinvigorate the heart of the business hamlet.
Preliminary work and staging began within the past week and is expected to be completed in about 18 months.
“Our hamlet has gone too long without the attention it deserves,” Councilman Adam Brodsky, chair of the town’s Streetscape Committee, said during the ceremony in front of town hall. “Having a beautiful and functioning town will entice new businesses to our downtown and help those already here to prosper. By making this investment we are sending a strong message that not only is our hamlet the heart of our community, but it is a manifestation of the pride we all share in our homes.”
The infrastructure improvements, which account for most of the $11.6 million project, includes replacement of about 1,650 feet of 12-inch water main, about 2,650 feet of eight- and 15-inch sewer mains and new stormwater management systems along North Greeley and South Greeley avenues to alleviate flooding.
There will also be a new traffic signal installed at the intersection of King Street and South Greeley Avenue with new crosswalks and elimination of the righthand slip lane from South Greeley onto King Street.
Once the infrastructure work is complete, a wide assortment of aesthetic improvements is expected to beautify the downtown and encourage pedestrian foot traffic, said Supervisor Robert Greenstein.
“In short, the project will make it safer and more enjoyable to walk around our downtown, and finally provide us with an infrastructure platform that allows our downtown to grow and prosper and for our merchants to grow and prosper,” Greenstein said.
Some of the more notable streetscape work will feature new sidewalks throughout downtown; new granite curbing; brick crosswalks, ornamental LED lighting; bollards and bicycle racks; fencing; stone wall seating; and a downtown clock.
There will be a 3,000-square-foot public space with bluestone and tables and chairs on the corner of King Street and South Greeley for the public to gather.
Brodsky said the traffic signal at King Street and South Greeley with a four-way crosswalk will mark a critical safety improvement, particularly for the many students who congregate downtown on Friday afternoons during the school year after classes are dismissed.
Town Engineer Robert Cioli said the key challenges will be to communicate the progress, work with downtown merchants and residents when any problems arise as well as coordinating the work that is scheduled to be done during the day and the overnight work.
The town has an around-the-clock resident engineer, John Kazawic from the construction management firm Boswell Engineering, to oversee the project and contractor ELQ Industries, Inc., Cioli said. Kazawic is using the space formerly occupied by E-Z Sports on South Greeley Avenue as his headquarters for the duration for the project.
To alleviate the impact as much as possible, the work in the most traveled portion of downtown, from the Shell station at Woodburn Avenue north to the Rite Aid as well as lower King Street, will be done overnight between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Daytime work will be on South Greeley Avenue just north of town hall to the Shell station and north of Rite Aid on North Greeley Avenue. That will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“The town board realized it could be an issue and wanted to see the work done at night to have less interference with the traffic during the day,” Cioli said.
The schedule calls for the water main work and the sewer work on North Greeley Avenue to be done by October, while the sewer work on South Greeley to be completed by March. The streetscape work is tentatively scheduled for completion by the end of November 2018, Cioli said.
For more information about the project and to sign up for updates, visit www.DowntownStrong.com.