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Littleton seeks funding for second phase of Main Street project


August 06, 2020
LITTLETON — In the early 2000's, Littleton finalized upgrades to the eastern segment of Main Street. As proposed, the second phase of the project will pick up where the last update left off, and the Town of Littleton has begun to seek funding.

On July 13, NCIC (Northern Community Investment Corporation) Director of Economic Development Katelyn Robinson informed the Littleton Select Board that the town was eligible for $500000 in economic development funding and an additional $500,000 in emergency funds. Town officials aim to use the money to complete the Main Street development.

Littleton Town Manager Andrew Dorsett said a CBDG grant application was submitted on July 24. He anticipated a second application to be delivered to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) within the next two weeks.

Dorsett noted, "As of last year, there were 120 new jobs added to Littleton's economy due to the River District development. We expect a similar kind of outcome with this project."

"Once we improve all of the infrastructure, the market for the properties, office spaces and businesses becomes more welcoming and friendly. Private business comes in and it ultimately results in more business," continued the Town Manager.

According to Robinson, the project aims to upgrade outdated infrastructure, improve access to downtown employment and services, increase community safety and livability and realize cost savings.

Phase II development plans include securement of rights of way, allowing an intersection realignment to bring traffic to a safe 90-degree entrance onto Meadow Street from Bridge Street. Currently, the entry to Meadow Street is a dangerous 60-degree angle from Saranac Street.

"Meadow and Main Streets will benefit from infrastructure updates, traffic calming, including narrowing of the roadway, curb bump-outs, expanded sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, and improved signage, signals and lighting for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. A small parking area will be constructed to help alleviate downtown parking issues and to expand access to Littleton's multi-modal trails," stated the NCIC representative.

The proposed parking area will complement other active parking projects in downtown Littleton, said Robinson. Concurrently, water and sewer will be installed to increase efficiency, decrease costs and enhance the Town's ability to support increased development.

Engineering work will also be completed for the project. Water, storm and sanitary sewer infrastructure is outdated, parts of which still use old clay tile pipe and brick manholes susceptible to infiltration. There are areas where storm water currently enters the sewage infrastructure, resulting in higher costs and capacity concerns at the processing plant.

The solution said Robinson, is to replace an approximately 2,000-foot-long segment of the roadway corridor with modern materials that would bring the area into compliance with current design standards. The associated fire hydrants, shutoff valves, catch basins, manholes and sewer services would be replaced with the water, storm and sanitary sewer mains.

"These underground infrastructure upgrades are an unseen but crucial part of the necessary infrastructure improvements to improve overall environmental quality in and around the project area. Storm water will be filtered without channeling the water into the sanitary sewer infrastructure. Permaculture will be implemented to improve the environmental sustainability and aesthetics of the project," noted Robinson.

A 2,000-foot length of Route 302 between Bridge Street and Maple Street also needs work, including the removal of old concrete lying under the road surface. Robinson said the reconstruction of this segment should include the development of safer pedestrian crosswalks from the north to the south side of the highway. The creation of a vegetative buffer between pedestrian and vehicular traffic was also recommended.

"Right now, we are looking for letters from businesses as part of the grant application process, describing what their anticipated impact would be and how many jobs would be created or maintained over the next several years as a result of the project," noted Dorsett.

Interested business owners can reach out to the Littleton Town Offices for more information.

Varney Smith
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