Sidebar Harbor Management Plan- Chapter Four

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CHAPTER FOUR: WATERFRONT IMPROVEMENT AND HARBOR MANAGEMENT PROJECTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This chapter outlines specific projects and recommendations to enhance public use and enjoyment of the Middletown waterfront and Harbor Management Area (HMA) and to maintain and enhance the environmental quality associated with the waterfront and HMA. The projects and recommendations are intended to advance the City’s waterfront improvement and harbor management goals, objectives and policies established in chapters Two and Three of the Harbor Management Plan. Some of the projects are already underway and can be realized in the near future; others will require a longer period of time to achieve.

Of particular significance for implementing the waterfront improvement and harbor management projects and recommendations are two on-going and inter-related initiatives: 1) the American Heritage Rivers Initiative (AHRI) for the Connecticut River; and 2) coordinated pursuit by all City agencies of Middletown’s long-range Waterfront Vision.

Described in Chapter One of the Harbor Management Plan, the Connecticut River and waterfront were vital to the settlement and historical development of the City of Middletown. The River is a dominant influence on the quality of life in the City and remains, in the Year 2000, the City’s “River of Opportunity.” In addition to providing irreplaceable natural and cultural values, the River provides opportunities for water and waterfront recreation, water dependent commerce, economic growth and Downtown revitalization.

To increase public enjoyment of the historic, cultural, recreational, economic and environmental values provided by the Connecticut River and its Mattabesset and Coginchaug tributaries at Middletown, the City, acting through the Harbor Improvement Agency, has joined with other municipalities, interested organizations, and concerned citizens to implement the Connecticut River Action Plan for the American Heritage Rivers Initiative. (See Chapter One of the Harbor Management Plan.) At the same time, the Harbor Improvement Agency, in concert with other agencies and City officials, is pursuing achievement of the City’s Waterfront Vision. This Vision, articulated in provisions of the Harbor Management Plan and the City’s Plan of Conservation and Development, is based on goals for expanded use of the waterfront, reconnection of the Downtown with the Connecticut River, protection and enhancement of environmental quality and other goals for beneficial public use and community enhancement associated with the City’s waterfront and HMA.

Middletown’s Waterfront Vision exemplifies and complements the goals of the Connecticut River Action Plan for the AHRI, including the goals of that Plan for riverfront revitalization and public access. The Vision provides a guiding theme for implementing the waterfront improvement and harbor management projects and recommendations outlined on the following pages of this chapter. The sum total of these inter-related projects is known as Middletown’s “Back to the Riverfront Revitalization Program: as included in the Connecticut River Action Plan for the AHRI. It is recognized, however, that while the Back to the Riverfront Revitalization Program is suitable for implementation in coordination with the AHRI, this City program is not dependent on the AHRI. If the AHRI should be discontinued, for example, the City will continue to pursue all available funding sources to implement the projects and recommendations in this chapter.

The waterfront improvement and harbor management initiatives outlined in this chapter are organized with respect to: 1) environmental conservation and restoration projects and recommendations; 2) water and waterfront access projects and recommendations; and 3) waterfront redevelopment projects and recommendations. The order in which these initiatives are presented does not denote priority. Additional Detail is provided on the Downtown Waterfront and Water Use Plan attached to the Harbor Management Plan; responsibilities pertaining to project implementation are described in Chapter Five of the Harbor Management Plan. Priority projects from the “Back to the Riverfront Revitalization Program,” summarized for the purpose of the AHRI, are provided in Appendix D of the Plan.

It is important that Middletown’s waterfront improvement and harbor management efforts be considered part of an on-going, evolving process. As a result, additional beneficial projects, including projects that may be suggested by interested agencies, organizations and citizens should be added to the Harbor Management Plan through future Plan amendments when appropriate. Future Plan amendments also should reflect progress toward completing the projects outlined on the following pages.

    ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION
    PROJECTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    The natural environment of the Connecticut, Mattabesset and Coginchaug rivers at Middletown provides vital ecological functions as well as the opportunity for water and waterfront uses that provide important social and economic benefits. Several projects for environmental conservation and restoration should be pursued, including projects for:

    1. CONTINUED IMPROVEMENT OF WATER QUALITY, INCLUDING APPLICATION OF MEASURES TO REDUCE NONPOINT SOURCES OF POLLUTION.
    2. ENHANCEMENT / RESTORATION OF SUMNER BROOK’S RIPARIAN ECOSYSTEM AND FISHERIES HABITAT.
    3. WATERFRONT BEAUTIFICATION
    4. CONNECTICUT RIVER EROSION CONTROL AND RIVERBANK PROTECTION.
    5. ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP OF RIVERFRONT PROPERTIES POTENTIALLY AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC USE OF COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT.

    1. Projects for continued improvement of water quality, including application of measures to reduce nonpoint sources of pollution.

      Noted in Chapter One of the Harbor Management Plan, water pollution caused by bacteria and other pollutants can affect the vitality of fish and wildlife and the enjoyment of boating and other water and waterfront activities. As a result, the importance of maintaining and improving water quality in the Connecticut, Mattabesset and Coginchaug rivers is generally well recognized. The City’s ongoing program for separating sanitary and stormwater sewers should be continued, and other, less capital-intensive programs that may be applied to improve water quality should also be supported. The Connecticut River Watch Program and Mattabesset River Watershed Management Project are two examples of the type or programs that should be supported.

      Current water quality testing programs should be expanded to include testing of stormwater discharged into the Connecticut River from City storm drains. Through such testing, which may be accomplished with volunteer assistance, storm drains that may be significant contributors of pollution should be identified. This project should help determine and document the correlation between rainfall and increased levels of bacteria in the Harbor Management Area and provide information for the application of appropriate technology, facilities and other measures to reduce nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, including NPS pollution caused by stormwater runoff from paced surfaces in the Downtown, Route 9 and Harborpark area. Public awareness of NPS pollution in the Connecticut River watershed (including the Mattabesset and Coginchaug watersheds) should be increased through support of volunteer water quality programs and public education projects.

      Consideration should be given to providing a vessel waster pump-out facility at Harborpark for use by recreational and commercial vessels using waterfront facilities at Middletown. Consideration should be given to applying to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for funds available through the Federal Clean Vessel Act grant program to cover 75% of the costs of acquiring, installing, and maintaining such a pump-out facility for public use.

    2. Enhance/restoration of Sumner Brook's riparian ecosystem and fisheries habitat.

      A plan to enhance and restore the riparian ecosystem and fisheries habitat of Sumner Brook specialists in natural resources management. Enhancement and restoration of the water quality, visual quality, and fish and wildlife habitat values associated with the Brook is particularly important because of the Brook's proximity to Harborpark, to the Union Street/Route 9 underpass which provides vehicle access to Harborpark, and to the former Peterson Oil property.

      The enhancement/restoration plan should be designed and implemented in coordination with: environmental cleanup of the former Peterson Oil property; preparation of detailed plans for public use and development of Peterson Oil and wastewater treatment plant properties; and streetscape improvements in the area of the nearby Union Street/Route 9 underpass. Enhancement/restoration efforts should begin with removal of debris that has accumulated along the streambanks. Consideration should be given to selectively removing vegetation to enhance visual access to the Brook and Connecticut River, to the extent such removal is consistent with duly established City goals for aquatic and riparian habitat restoration.

      In addition, consideration should be given to restoration of natural riparian vegetation, dredging to improve stream flow and enhance fisheries habitat, and application of measures to reduce the runoff of NPS pollutants into the Brook. All elements of the enhancement/restoration plan should be carefully reviewed by resource management specialists prior to implementation; implementation will be in accordance with all applicable State and Federal regulatory requirements. When designing the enhancement/restoration plan, consideration also should be given to the feasibility of developing a launching/landing area for small, handcarried vessels such as canoes and kayaks. Technical and funding assistance from the Connecticut DEP's River Restoration Program and other governmental sources, including the DEP's Inland Fisheries Division's Habitat Conservation and Enhancement Program, should be sought to help design and implement the Sumner Brook enhancement/restoration project. Preparation of a habitat and fisheries restoration plan for Sumner Brook should be considered a priority project for implementation, and may be pursued through the American Heritage Rivers Initiative.

    3. Water beautification

      The scenic quality associated with the Connecticut, Mattabesset, and Coginchaug rivers at Middletown is among the most important of the City's natural resources. Community development efforts and efforts to attract visitors to the City's waterfront will depend in part on maintaining and enhancing waterfront scenic quality. Ongoing and volunteer-based waterfront beautification projects should be established, including, for example, a special project to remove debris from the banks of Sumner Brook as described above, an annual or semi-annual clean-up project to remove trash and illegally dumped debris that detracts from the scenic quality of the Connecticut River along River Road, and projects to preserve and enhance, to the extent practical, the beneficial functions and values provided by native trees and shrubs along the entire HMA waterfront. The importance of maintaining scenic quality along River Road will increase if a public boat launching facility is developed near the western or eastern boundaries of the City's River Road well field. Waterfront beautification goals also should be pursued through the City's maintenance program for Harborpark.

      Volunteer efforts, community service projects, and other special projects should be considered to help beautify the waterfront; these efforts and projects may also have the effect of increasing civic pride and responsibility with regard to the waterfront and Harbor Management Area.

    4. Connecticut River erosion control and riverbank protection.

      A long-term program for erosion control and riverbank protection should be pursued, including expansion of the existing River Road emergency streambank protection project constructed by the Corps of Engineers. A priority area for erosion control measures is downstream of the existing project, along the unprotected and actively eroding shoreline adjoining the City's River Road well field. Riprap and other, more natural shore protection measures (known as bio-engineered measures) should be evaluated for application in this area, along with potential funding sources, before shoreline erosion progresses, to the extent that an imminent threat to well field structures develops. Detail engineering, design, and cost analyses for extension of a streambank protection project to protect the municipal well field should be undertaken. Consideration should be given to designing and implementing shoreline protection plans in coordination with development of a boat launching facility near the western or eastern boundaries of the well field, should development of such a boat launching facility prove feasible and desirable. (See nos. 3.6 and 3.7 on pages 4-20 and 4-21.) The annual rate of shoreline erosion along the well field should be monitored and documented to determine when the well field structures are likely to be affected.

      Detailed engineering, design, and cost analyses for extension of a streambank protection project to protect the municipal well field on Harbor Road should be considered a priority project for implementation, and may be pursued through the American Heritage Rivers Initiative. (See Appendix D of the Harbor Management Plan.)

    5. Environmental cleanup of Riverfront properties potentially available for public use or commercial development

      Using its Brownfields Initiative Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the City should continue to study the extent to which Riverfront properties potentially available for public use and commercial development -including projects in the Riverfront Development Opportunity Area- may be affected by hazardous materials and other contaminants. Following completion of Phase I, II, and III environmental site assessments, the City should determine appropriate uses for the subject properties. Commercial redevelopment should be encouraged on properties that are not directly located on the Connecticut River. Among the properties being studied is the former Peterson Oil property acquired by the City in 1999- a key waterfront site that has expanded Middletown's waterfront greenway on the Connecticut River south of Harborpark.

      Phase I and II environmental site assessments of the former Peterson Oil property have been completed. An environmental cleanup program including removal of two small areas of oil-contaminated soil identified in Phase II assessment should be undertaken prior to public use of this property. The cleanup should now be undertaken prior to public use of this property. The cleanup program should be carried out in coordination with: preparation of detailed plans for public use and development of the Peterson Oil and wastewater treatment plan properties; and preparation and implementation of a fisheries and habitat restoration plan for Sumner Brook adjoining the Peterson Oil property.

      Environmental cleanup of the former Peterson Oil property should be considered a priority project for implementation, and may be pursued through the American Heritage Rivers Initiative. (See Appendix D of the Harbor Management Plan.)

    WATER AND WATERFRONT ACCESS
    PROJECTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    The Connecticut, Mattabesst, and Coginchaug rivers at Middletown provide an invaluable setting for many active and passive recreational uses that contribute importantly to the City's quality of life. Several projects to enhance public recreational use and enjoyment of the City's waterfront and harbor management jurisdiction should be pursued, including projects for:

    1. ENHANCEMENT, PROMOTION, AND EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF HARBORPARK FACILITIES.
    2. HARBORPARK EXPANSION, INCLUDING PREPARATION OF DETAILED PLANS FOR PUBLIC USE AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE PETERSON OIL AND WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT PROPERTIES.
    3. EVALUATION OF POTENTIAL SITES FOR SMALL CRAFT LAUNCHING; DEVELOPMENT OF SELECTED SITE(S).
    4. IMPROVED VEHICULAR AND PEDESTRIAN LINKAGE BETWEEN THE DOWNTOWN AND CONNECTICUT RIVER ACROSS ROUTE 9.
    5. PUBLIC USE OF WATERFRONT OPEN SPACE AREAS.
    6. DEVELOPMENTS OF WATER AND WATERFRONT TRAIL SYSTEM.
    7. DEVELOPMENT OF RAIL AND TOUR BOAT LINKAGES WITH OTHER CONNECTICUT RIVER TOWNS.
    8. INVESTIGATION OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR PROVIDING BOAT MOORING AND ANCHORING AREAS IN THE CONNECTICUT RIVER; RESERVED AREAS FOR MOORING AND ANCHORING.

    1. Enhancement, promotion, and effective management of Harborpark facilities.

      Harborpark is an uncommon public area in that it adjoins the Connecticut River on the edge of a prominent central business district. The park provides important opportunities for public access to the River, including opportunities for fishing from the shoreline, picnicking, boating, walking along the waterfront boardwalk to enjoy views of the River, and enjoyment of special events such as the Fourth of July fireworks display, Head of the Connecticut Regatta, and July 2000 and 2001 visits of the sailing ship Amistad. Waterfront dining at the Harborpark Restaurant also brings people to the park, including visiting boaters who tie up at the retaurant's floating docks. Regularly scheduled and chartered boat trips aboard Connecticut River excursion vessels have been another park attraction. The Coast Guard and commercial tugboat operators occasionally tie up their vessels at Harborpark during their Connecticut River operations. In addition, the Wesleyan University and Middletown High School rowing programs are based at Harborpark. Opportunities to increase public use and enjoyment of Harborpark for these and other beneficial public activities should be pursued.

      Perhaps the most significant opportunities involve projects for improving vehicle and pedestrian linkage between the Downtown and Harborpark, across Route 9, at the three locations described below. Also, opportunities for improving the ease and availablity of parking for excursion boat patrons and docking of excursion vessels should be pursued, along with efforts to encourage tour boat linkages between Middletown and Hartford and the lower Connecticut River towns.

      Other opportunities for increasing public use of Harborpark also should be evaluated and pursued, including utilization of the areas known as the north and south coves, provision of additional docking and other facilities for transient boaters, encouragement of more special events, and use of the park for educational programs, including programs to increase awareness of the region's Connecticut River heritage. The south cove should be considered an opportunity area for establishment of a canoe and kayak launching/landing float to support establishment and use of a water trail system. Public use of the park in the area of the north cove should be increased. The north pavilion-north cove area is reserved for construction of floating docks and other appropriate facilities to serve visiting boaters who are not patrons of the Harborpark restaurant. Other improvements to enhance beneficial public use may also be considered, along with repair of the obstructed storm drain structure in this section of the park.

      Opportunities for enhancement of park facilities should be pursued in concert with regular maintenance of existing park facilities and areas, including the boardwalk, benches, bulkhead, picnic ares, restrooms, lights, railings, and lawn and parking areas, to provide a clean, safe, and attactive public space.

      The Harborpark bulkhead supports the park's waterfront boardwalk and the docking facility used by the U.S. Coast Guard, commercial tugboat operators and excursion boats. The bulkhead was constructed in 1979; no structural assessment of the bulkhead or major repairs have been undertaken since that time. A waterfront railing was constructed at teh same time as the boardwalk and extends along the length of the boardwalk. A "child-proof" railing system was installed for public safety purposes in front of the Harborpark Restaurant but the orginal railing, which has deteriorated in some locations, has not been repaired or replaced along the rest of the boardwalk. A structural assessment of the Harborpark bulkhead should be undertaken, along with an engineering, design, and cost analysis for any bulkhead repairs/improvements that may be needed to support desired water dependent uses. In addition, a "child-proof" railing should be extended along the entire length of the boardwalk.

      A structural assessment of the Harborpark bulkhead, along with engineering, design, and cost analysis for bulkhead repairs/improvements, as necessary, and extension of the "child-proof" railing along the entire pedestrian boardwalk should be considered priority projects for implementation through the American Heritage Rivers Initiative. (See Appendix D of the Harbor Management Plan.)

      City officals and agencies should consider opportunities for increasing the maintenance resources and attention directed toward Harborpark and should pursue opportunities for increased description and promotion of Harborpark's unique opportunities for public access to the Connecticut River.

      All uses and activities at Harborpark ahould be effectively managed to provide safe and enjoyable public use and to avoid conflicts among uses and activities. Specific sections of the park and bulkhead should be managed for specific water dependent uses in accordance with the Harbor Management Plan's Downtown Waterfront and Water Use Plan.

      Water dependent uses to be managed include: transient boating use by restaurant patrons and others who may visit the park and Downtown Middletown; emergency services use by the Middletown Police and Fire departments, Harbor Master, and State and Federal agencies; U.S. Coast Guard use, including tie-ups of ice-breaking vessels during Connecticut River operations; use by tug boats and other commercial vessels operating on the Connecticut River; use by vessels participating in special waterfront events; excursion boat use; rowing use by the Wesleyan University, Middletown High School, and other rowing programs; and other appropriate uses.

      The State of Connecticut Harbor Master for Middletown should receive advance notice of all special events involving water-dependent uses of Harborpark facilities, including rowing events. In addition, the Harbor Master should, to the extent possible, receive advance notice of the use of Harborpark facilities by U.S. Coast Guard vessels and commercial vessels operating on the Connecticut River.

      No, waterfront structures, including floats, docks, bulkheads, and pilings, located at Harborpark, nor any vessels attached to those structures, may interfere with the safe and free passage of vessels nevigating in the normally used Connecticut River Federal navigation channel of 150 feet in width. The floating docks maintained by the restaurant lessee shall be maintained in good repair at all times and otherwise used and managed in accordance with the lessee's agreement with the City, all applicable municipal codes, and all conditions specified in State and Federal permits.

      Boats shall not be rafted side to side at the restaurant docks in a manner that causes a hazard or obstruction to navigation in the normally used Federal channel. To limit the potential for unsafe encroachment into the River and to address concerns regarding fire-fighting access to rafted boats, a maximum of four vessels of a size and type typically used by transient boaters visiting the restaurant may be rafted side to side at any one time. in no instance, however, shall the rafted vessels extend into the River from the docks for a distance greater than 50 feet. All rafting shall be subject to any order by the Harbor Master neede to maintain the safe and efficient operation of the Middletown Harbor Management Area.

      As necessary to maintain the safe and efficient operation of the Middletown Harbor Management Area, all uses of Harborpark by recerational and commercial vessels will be managed by the Harbor Master.

    2. Harborpark exanpsion, including preparation of detailed plans for public use and development of the Peterson Oil and wastewater treatment plant properties.

      In addition to opportunities for enhancing exisiting park facilities and encouraging increased public used of Harborpark, opportunities for expansion of Harborpark along the Connecticut River, particularly to the south of the existing park, should be pursued. Pursiut of those opportunities will require a long-term commitment on the part of City officials and agencies, similar to the commitment that resulted in the City's acquisition of the property now known as Columbus Point at Harborpark and teh former Peterson Oil property.

      The former Peterson Oil property is immediately south of Columbus Point. Just south of the Peterson Oil property is Middletown's wastewater treatment plant. Noted in Chapter One of the Harbor Management Plan, the City has been a principal participant in the Mattabesset Regionalization Study which has determined the feasibility of pumping the wastewater now treated at this plant and several other treatment facilities in the Middletown area to the Mattabesset District treatment plant at Cromwell. To accomplich regional consolidation of wastewater treatment, the City's wastewater treatment plant will be decommissioned and this waterfront site will be available for development of public River access facilities, including a public boat launching ramp. In addition, the existing wastewater treatment facilities (and discharges into the Connecticut River) operated by the Pratt and Whitney manufacturing plant and Connecticut Valley Hospital at Middletown will be eliminated through the regionalization project.

      Addition of both the Peterson Oil and wastewater treatment plant properties to the exisiting Harborpark will extend the City's waterfront greenway on the Connecticut River by an additional 1,500 linear feet; Harborpark will then encompass approximately 3,600 linear feet of Connecticut River shoreline.

      Detailed plans for public use and development of the Peterson Oil and wastewater treatment plant properties should be prepared, including design of a public boat launching facility and incorporation of the properties into a waterfront greenway linked with the Downtown and Harborpark. These plans should be prepared in coordination with: preparation and implementation of a fisheries and habitat restoration plan for Sumner Brook; and completion of necessary environmental cleanup.

      Preparation of detailed plans for public use and development of the former Peterson Oil property and wastewater treatment property, including design of a public boat launching facility and incorporation of the properties into a waterfront greenway linked with the Downtown and Harborpark, should be considered a priority project for implementation, and may be pursued through the American Rivers Initiative.

    3. Evaluation of potiential sites for small craft launching; Development of selected site(s).

      There has been much public discussion for a number of years concerning the lack of a public boat launching area on the Middletown shoreline. Recreational boaters and emergency services officials have described the need for a paved boat launching ramp providing access to the Connecticut River for recreational and emergency access purposes. There have been several study efforts to identify potentially suitable sites for a boat launching facility and several preliminary development plans have been prepared but not implemented.

      In the course of preparing the Harbor Management Plan, the Harbor Improvement Agency reviewed the previous plans and study efforts and conducted a waterfront reconnaissance to consider potential sites. No new sites (not identified in the previous studies) were identified as potential sites. Potentially suitable sites for developing a public boat launching facility are limited and development constraints are associated with all of the potential sites. There are however, some important opportunities for establishing a boat launching facility and those opportunities should be the subject of more detailed evaluation, including preparation of development cost estimates, leading to selection of a preferred sites or sites. The Harbor Improvement Agency has identified eight potential sites for boating access, including access by trailered recreational and emergency vessels and hand-carried vessels such as canoes and kayaks. A brief description of each site and summary of development opportunities and constraints is included below.

      • 3.1 Roosevlt Park Site-
      • 3.2 Former Peterson Oil Property-
      • 3.3 Wastewater Treatment Plant Site-
      • 3.4 Former Peterson Oil Property and Wastewater Treatment Plant Site-
      • 3.5 Sumner Brook Site-
      • 3.6 River Bank Lot-
      • 3.7 Rushford Center/South Well Field Site-
      • 3.8 Harborpark Rowing Ramp-
    4. Improved vechicular and pedesstrian linkage between the Downtown and Connecticut River across Route 9.

      • 4.1 The Route 9 underpass at Union Street-
      • 4.2 The area between Court Street and College Street-
      • 4.3 The pedestrian tunnel under Dekoven Drive and Route 9 to Harborpark-
    5. Public use of waterfront open space areas.

      Waterfront open space areas owned by teh City of Middletown include the River Road open space area (sometimes referred to as the "ckicken farm" parcel) acquired from the State of Connecitcut in 1996 and Wilcox Island in the Connecticut River upstream of the Arrigoni Bridge. These properties are not only important natural and scenic resources but also provide opportunities for passive recreational uses enhanced by proximity to the Connecticut River. As a result, the use of these properties for the public recreational activities that do not have substantial impacts on the natural environment will contribute to achievement of teh City's Waterfront Vision.

      Management plans for the Wilcox Island and River Road open space areas should be prepared to guide beneficial public use of these properties in a manner consistent with the Waterfront Vision. (Principal responsibility for managing the City's open space areas rests with the City' Conservation Commission.) In the planning process, consideration should be given to use of these two areas for passive recreational activities consistent with the areas' natural capacity, including activities such as hiking, nature observation, picnicking, fishing, and canoeing. Consideration should then be given to development of appropriate facilities (trails, canoe launching/landing areas, picnic areas, for example) needed to support the desired uses.

      Consideration should be given to incorporating Wilcox Island as a component of a water trail system including the Mattabesset River and wetlands. With respect to the River Road property, the railroad line along the shoreline limits opportunities for boating access to the Connecticut River, and linkage with a potential waterfront bikeway along the length of the City's Connecticut River shoreline. The management plan for the River Road property should address public safety issues concerning public use near the active railroad line.

    6. Development of water and waterfront trail system.

    7. Development of rail and tour Boat linkages with other Connecticut River Towns.

      Middletown's location on the Connecticut River roughly midway between Hatford and the mouth of the River provides a unique opportunity for teh development of tour boat linakages between the City, Hartford, and the lower Connecitcut Valley towns including Essex and Deep River. The water transportation opportunities are enhanced by the natural beauty of the Connecticut Valley, Middletown's ongoing efforts to enhance Harborpark and develop a center of waterfront activity linked to the Downtown, Hartford's "Riverfront Recapture" projects, and the established tourism economies of the downstream towns. In addition, the State-owned railroad line that follows the Connecticut River from Old Saybrook to Middletown provides additional opportunities for future tourism linkage between Middletown and other Connecticut River towns. Expansion of the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat operation north of Chester to Middletown will require substantial track improvements and resolution of other issues, but the regional economic recreational benefits of such expansion may be substantial and gshould be pursued.

    8. Investigation of opportunities for providing boat mooring and anchoring areas in the Connecticut River; Reserved areas for mooring and anchoring.

    WATERFRONT REDEVELOPMENT
    PROJECTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    A significant waterfront and harbor management related issue at Middletown concerns the City’s need to realize opportunities for community enhancement and redevelopment presented by the Connecticut, Mattabesset and Coginchaug rivers. In addition to opportunities for City initiatives to increased public use and enjoyment of the waterfront and Harbor Management Area, private development of properties on and near the waterfront can also contribute to the success of the City’s overall plans for economic development and waterfront revitalization. There are several underutilized sites on and near the waterfront that provide opportunities for redevelopment projects that may advance the City’s Waterfront Vision. These sites include:

    1. REMINGTON RAND BUILDING AND SITE
    2. RIVERFRONT DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY AREA
    3. NORTHEAST UTILITIES’ CONNECTICUT RIVER PROPERTIES

    1. Remington Rand Building and Site

      The underutilized Remington Rand industrial building and site adjoins the Mattabesset River and the City’s closed landfill to the north of the Downtown revitalization area. In 1999 the City acquired this property and is now evaluating resale and reuse opportunities. Any future reuse and redevelopment of this property should be planned and regulated in a manner to avoid or reduce any potentially significant impacts on the Mattabesset River and watershed, including impacts on water quality.

    2. Riverfront Development Opportunity Area.

      Noted in Chapter One of the Harbor Management Plan, this area of approximately 85 acres is bounded by Route 9, Eastern Drive and the Connecticut River. Included are underutilized commercial properties, the former Peterson Oil property, the City’s wastewater treatment plant site and some 2,700 feet of direct frontage on the Connecticut River.

      Future development in this area could have significant long-term positive impacts on the City’s waterfront and Harbor Management Area. At the same time, new development also raises the possibility of adverse environmental and other impacts that should be avoided. Future development in this area should be planned and guided in a manner to advance the City’s Waterfront Vision, including goals for economic development and beneficial public use of the waterfront and Harbor Management Area. City agencies should continue to work in a coordinated manner to guide the process for preparing a long-range development strategy for the area with public input and support. Important elements of the development strategy should include the preservation of land directly adjoining the River, including the former Peterson Oil property and wastewater treatment plant property, for public use and enjoyment in perpetunity; provision of multiple points of access- to the River; protection and enhancement of River views; concentration of open space and active recreational uses along the riverfront; and establishment of significant water-dependent uses in the riverfront area.

      Within the Riverfront Development Opportunity area, two underutilized commercial properties are seen to have particular redevelopment potential. These are the Walnut Street/River Road and Eastern Drive/River Road properties.

      This Walnut Street/River Road property is bounded by River Road, the railroad line. Sumner Brook, and Walnut Street, and is separated from the Connecticut River waterfront by River Road and the railroad line. Part of this property near Sumner Brook has been considered for development of a boat launching facility and there may be opportunity for future development of a launching area for hand-carried vessels in coordination with environmental restoration of Sumner Brook. The property is located across River Road from the City's wastewater treatment plant; future expansion of Harborpark to encompass the treatment plant site may enhance the redevelopment potential of the Walnut Street/River Road property.

      The Eastern Drive/River Road property is located east of the wastewater treatment plant, and is also separated from the Connecticut River waterfront by the railroad line and River Road.

    3. Northeast Utilities' Connecticut River Properties.

      Northeast Utilties owns a substantial amount of currently undeveloped property overlooking the Connecticut River in the vicinity of the Middletown Power Station. Two separate properties are of interest with respect to redevelopment opportunities: 1) the Maromas property which encompasses approximately 900 acres orginally acquired for power plant construction; and 2) the Feldspar property of about 200 acres which includes a section previously leased for mining operations. Both of these properties, now used primarily for conservation purposes, are for sale; constraints related to topography and lack of sewerage have been seen to limit development opportunities.

      Any future development in these areas, including development adjoining and visible from the Harbor Management Area, should be planned and regulated in a manner to avoid or reduce any potentially significant impacts on the HMA.

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