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Old Lyme Wins Grant for Major Improvements to Sound View Beach

A federal transportation grant will fund 80 percent of the project, which includes permanent bathrooms, a park and picnic area, kiosk parking and a bike path.

 

A proposal for improvements to Sound View Beach, including kiosk parking, a public park and picnic area, public bathrooms, and a bike path is finally moving from the drawing board toward becoming a reality.  

The Town of Old Lyme has been awarded a grant through the Federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (known as MAP 21). The funds, administered through the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation, are expected to cover 80 percent of the cost of improvements to Sound View Beach and the shoreline area.

The Town’s Sound View Commission, working with The BSC Group and input from the community, developed improvement plans to address safety, the environment, and the aesthetics of the 100-year-old beach community.

The project includes improved traffic flow, kiosk parking, a bike path along Route 156, and a public park with a picnic area and rest room facilities. Sound View includes a mix of both year round and seasonal residences as well as several businesses. The planned improvements will benefit those residents and business owners, as well as the thousands of visitors who flock to Sound View Beach each summer.

"Both Frank Pappalardo (Chair, Sound View Commission) and I are thrilled to hear that our grant application for 80 percent of the cost of this project has been approved, and the DOT has expressed a desire to see this project accomplished in a timely manner," said Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder. "This is a great opportunity for Old Lyme, and a long time in coming." 

The project will be done in phases. An RFQ for the Design will be the first phase.  Detailed plans and specs will be developed, and construction could begin as early as the Spring of 2014. The Town will schedule public meetings to keep people informed of the plans and the progress.

Diane Stevens February 04, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Well I thought the remaining amount due the 20%, was going to go to a "vote"? I don't see any mention of that?
Gloria February 04, 2013 at 10:24 PM
QUESTION: Will the Kiosk Parking only be for Old Lyme residents with beach stickers, or will it be for cars from any town? Thank you.
Dan Tricarico February 05, 2013 at 01:12 AM
Thank you Frank and Bonnie, Job well done!!!!
Jayne Keedle (Editor) February 05, 2013 at 02:48 AM
Good question, Gloria, and the answer is I'm not sure. Residents with beach stickers don't have to pay to park, so the kiosks themselves would be used for people who need to pay to park, whether they be residents or visitors. I imagine the parking situation would be much the same, with spaces used on a first come first served basis, but I'll find out for sure and let you know.
Jack vecchitto February 05, 2013 at 08:24 PM
This facility is needed but it is going to eliminate 60 prime parking spaces! How many more parking spaces will be lost to the bike path and traffic improvements? Where will they park? As we learned last year, the cost of parking will either bring them down to Sound View or push them away if it is too high. Fewer spaces will only drive up parking fees and push them away. This is going to kill our business.
Gloria February 05, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Thank you, Jayne! And I hope it's open to everyone! I'm from Lyme and, truthfully, my feelings have always been hurt that Old Lyme didn't offer beach stickers to Lyme residents. So I'd be happy to pay to be able to park.
Diane Stevens February 05, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Soundview parking has always been open to "anyone" whether a resident or not, the parking lot has always had a 'fee' for cars without stickers. I agree with Jack, we saw how "dead" it was down there this summer with the 'paid street parking',,Improving the area may be nice, but it's not going to draw in people with no where to park. And who wants to pay those parking "fees"? THAT alone will be a negative. Business' will suffer. I think you will see more business' close down there which is a shame. And I STILL want to know if that extra 20% is going to be "voted" on by town residents???? Or are they just going to slide it thru ? And bike path? From what I understood from previous discussions weren't they saying a 'bike path' would be from Smith Neck Road to Hartford Ave? I dont think the residents who live along this 'bike path' are going to appreciate that one bit.
Jack vecchitto February 06, 2013 at 06:07 PM
I wish there were more sensible Old Lyme residents like you Diane. Just because the Governemnt gives the town 80% of the money for a project doesn't make the project necessary or right. Removing all those parking spaces to build this facility is not the answer and a bike path is not needed down there either. Why not build the restroom facility on the Bocci court property? I think that property is already owned by the town, it's not in the flood zone, and it won't cost any valuable parking spaces to build it. There has to be a better solution than this. Will the town open up other areas for parking if this thing is built? No one will use this facility, showers and picnic tables if there are no parking spaces. Perhaps they plan to build another parking area or give other residents parking lot permits? Parking on Hartford Avenue should be free for two hours like it has always been. If last year taught us anything, the free parking on the street is what brought people down there. Even a few free spots would help, and the town should consider that. I wonder if it is even legal for the Town of Old Lyme to charge parking fees on a public street in a public beach community? I really hope the Old Lyme residents will vote against this project if they are given the opportunity.
Jack vecchitto February 26, 2013 at 12:01 PM
My apologies for the previous posts. I was uninformed about the project and the discussions from previous meetings and I shouldn't have commented. I went to the Sound View Beach Commission meeting last night and I feel much better about the project. Frank Papalardo did a great job securing this funding with this federal grant. It's going to cost the town very little for a big improvement to the area. Restrooms are badly needed at Sound View and this is a great solution to that problem. I was happy to hear that the commission really wants to support and work with businesses in the Sound View Beach community. Maybe a few less parking spaces for a real bathroom will work out okay. I urge Old Lyme residents to support this project.
Diane Stevens February 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM
Jack, glad you have a better feel for things. I still have alot of concerns, but I find in this town, they will end up doing what they want anyway with no real regard for what taxpayers want or regard for what people in this town can afford.

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